(Recasts with violence, adds politician bailed)
By Rina Chandran
MUMBAI Oct 22 A 10-year-old boy was killed
when police opened fire on protesters in eastern India on
Wednesday, officials said, as rioters set trains alight and
blocked roads in retaliation for attacks on migrants in the
west of the country.
The child was hit by a stray bullet and died at the scene
after police in Rohtas district, in the eastern state of Bihar,
fired on a mob attacking a train station, Naval Kishore Mishra,
a police officer, said from Rohtas.
At least six people and several policemen were injured when
rioters threw stones and clashed with police, he said.
The migration of thousands of workers from impoverished
northern and eastern states such as Uttar Pradesh and Bihar
into India's booming financial capital Mumbai has sparked a
violent backlash, with local resentment fuelled by ambitious
That in turn has provoked tit-for-tat violence in northern
and eastern India, a sign of the strains that inequality is
placing on society as parts of the country's economy booms.
On Wednesday, a local politician, whose arrest sparked
violent protests in Mumbai was given bail after spending a
night in jail.
Raj Thackeray, head of the small but vocal Maharashtra
Navnirman Sena (MNS) party, was arrested on Tuesday for rioting
and provoking attacks on migrants.
The party is known for its anti-migrant rhetoric and belief
that Mumbai belongs to ethnic Marathis, who originate from the
Maharashtra state of which the city is the capital.
"We had applied for anticipatory interim bail, which has
been granted," a lawyer representing Thackeray told reporters
outside the court in Kalyan town, near Mumbai.
A curfew was imposed to quell angry protests by MNS
supporters. "He is now a free man. He can go home. His Diwali
will start now," he said, referring to the Hindu festival next
On Wednesday in Mumbai, schools and shops were open and
people returned to work.
But in Kalyan town, where Thackeray, the nephew of Hindu
nationalist leader Bal Thackeray, was held, police beat back
protesters with batons as Thackeray was brought to court.
Violence also flared in the poor north and east of India,
where protesters set alight trains, blocked roads and damaged
the home of the head of a Tata Motors factory, in retaliation
for attacks on migrants by the MNS in Maharashtra.
In Bihar, gangs of young men torched coaches of a train,
vandalised train stations and disrupted rail and road traffic.
Several Bihar-bound trains were later cancelled.
"The situation is very tense ... we are facing a lot of
trouble running the trains on time," a senior railway official
in capital city Patna said.
In neighbouring Jharkhand state, a mob damaged the home of
the head of a Tata Motors factory, also based in Mumbai, while
in Uttar Pradesh, Chief Minister Mayawati demanded MNS be
banned, echoing calls by other legislators in parliament.
Mayawati, chief of Bahujan Samaj Party, warned of a
backlash against Maharashtrians in Uttar Pradesh and other
"There are many people from Maharashtra in other states who
could be at the receiving end for none of their fault," she
Supporters of MNS, which is fuelling anti-immigrant
rhetoric ahead of national and local elections due next year,
had attacked north Indian railway job aspirants in Mumbai on
Sunday, prompting calls for Thackeray's arrest and for the
party to be banned.
MNS has previously also attacked migrant taxi drivers in
Mumbai, a city where less than half its 17 million residents
are from the state.
The Indian Express newspaper said it was not clear if Raj
Thackeray would carry much weight in the elections.
"(But) with his arrest and its aftermath, he is certain to
keep the spotlight and set the discourse."
(Additional reporting by Sharat Pradhan in LUCKNOW; Editing by
Bappa Majumdar and Alex Richardson)