UproarOver Riot-Hit Indian State Halts Parliament

April 16, 2002
NEW DELHI -- Irate Indian opposition lawmakers forced Parliament's Lower House to adjourn on Monday as they renewed calls for the dismissal of Gujarat state's leader over his handling of the country's worst religious bloodshed in a decade.

The fragile Hindu nationalist-led ruling coalition survived a weekend revolt over its refusal to fire the state's Chief Minister Narendra Modi over charges he turned a blind eye to violence in which over 820 people, mostly Muslims, have died.

But the opposition, along with key allies of the coalition of more than 20 parties, vowed to keep up pressure on the 30-month-old Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government to dismiss Modi, who has rejected all allegations of wrongdoing.

"Today Gujarat is burning, tomorrow the country will burn," shouted Satyavrad Chaturvedi of the main opposition Congress Party as lawmakers stormed to the Center of the house, forcing the speaker to adjourn proceedings until 14:00 p.m. (0830 GMT).

Opposition parties said they had lost faith in Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee after he refused to dismiss Modi and instead ordered elections in the bloodied state.