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4 Muslims killed as Hindu, Muslim villagers clash in northern India, officials say

In this Sunday, Jan. 18, 2015 photo, the remains of burnt and ransacked huts still smolder in a village following a clash between two communities in a village, nearly 105 kilometers (65 miles) north of Patna, the Indian capital of Bihar state. At least four Muslims were burned to death Sunday when their thatched huts were set on fire during a clash between Hindu and Muslim groups in a village in eastern India, a government official said. (AP Photo/ Press Trust Of India) INDIA OUT
January 19, 2015 - 5:31 AM

PATNA, India - At least four Muslim villagers were killed, three of them burned to death, when their thatched huts were set on fire during a clash between Hindu and Muslim groups in eastern India, a government official said.

Police had arrested 14 people Monday on charges of arson and murder, said Ranjit K. Mishra, a local superintendent of police.

Security has been tightened in and around Sarayian village in Bihar state with some 500 police officers assigned to the area.

Atul Prasad, a Bihar state administrator, said the violence erupted Sunday after the body of a young Hindu boy was found in Sarayian more than a week after he went missing.

Prasad said Hindu fishermen blamed Muslims for killing the boy who was friendly with a Muslim girl from the village, 105 kilometres (65 miles) north of Patna, the capital of Bihar.

The charred bodies of three Muslims were found in the burned huts in the poor community, he said. The bullet-riddled body of a fourth man was found in a field in the village, Mishra said.

Prasad said the situation remains tense but under control in the village.

Hindus make up more than 80 per cent and Muslims nearly 13 per cent of India's 1.2 billion people. They largely live peacefully in various parts of the country, but there is occasional violence.

Last year, around 50 people died in clashes between Hindus and Muslim in Muzaffarnagar town in neighbouring Uttar Pradesh state.

News from © The Associated Press, 2015
The Associated Press

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