Indian media: Violence in Muzaffarnagar

Troops from the Indian Army have been called to control violence in Muzaffarnagar
Image caption Troops from the Indian Army have been called to control violence in Muzaffarnagar

Media in India are worried over religious clashes in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh and urge political parties to refrain from making it an election issue.

Indian army soldiers have been deployed in Muzaffarnagar district after 28 people were killed in religious clashes between Hindus and Muslims.

The Indian Express warns that the violence "points to active troublemaking in anticipation of the 2014 general election".

It adds that "given how incendiary the politics of religion has proven to be, even playing with the cinders is deeply unwise".

The Deccan Herald says that religious violence is "engineered, planned and orchestrated… it is not inevitable but can be prevented".

"With a general election round the corner, parties will be looking to polarise society. If Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav doesn't act to address the issue now, the communal situation could slide out of control," the paper warns.

Hindi newspaper the Dainik Jagran says that "the Muzaffarnagar incidents have shattered the image of the Uttar Pradesh government, proving it is incapable of preventing them".

But amid the grim news, Hindus and Muslims from the northern town of Haridwar are jointly organising readings from religious texts as a gesture towards promoting interfaith peace, Hindi daily Amar Ujala reports.

"Our religion is like our mother. If you love your mother, you cannot disrespect another person's mother," the paper quotes one of the organisers, Munawwar Qureshi, as saying.

Meanwhile, The Times of India reports that 22 Indian cities are facing severe water shortages.

"Water scarcity is fast becoming urban India's number one woe, with government's own data revealing that residents in 22 out of 32 major cities have to deal with daily shortages," the paper adds.

Child brides

Meanwhile, in another worrying statistic, India has 40% of the world's child brides, The Times of India says.

A government-commissioned survey found that there are 23 million child brides in the country, the report adds.

Moving on to foreign affairs, India has beefed up the security of its assets in Afghanistan, The Tribune reports.

"Some 80 commandos of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) have been flown to Afghanistan to join nearly 220 Indian personnel guarding the mission in Kabul and the consulates at Jalalabad, Mazar-e-Sharif, Herat and Kandahar," it says.

The move comes after a high-profile attack on the Jalalabad consulate last month.

In domestic news, 90% of the condom-vending machines across India are now untraceable, The Tribune reports.

The paper quotes an official report slamming the National AIDS Control Organisation, which is responsible for maintenance of the machines, as "shoddy and unprofessional".

Meanwhile, a woman in Bhojpur in the eastern state of Bihar has named her newly-born after a paramilitary force, the Deccan Herald reports.

"NDRF Singh" is the name Maya Devi has given to her son in gratitude towards the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), which rescued her during recent floods and helped her deliver the baby in a boat, the paper adds.

And finally, a young man from Salem in the southern state of Tamil Nadu has won a reward of $12,500 (£7989) from Facebook for discovering a malfunction which allowed users to remove pictures from other accounts, The Hindu reports.

Arul Kumar plans to give the prize money to his family. "My father got me a laptop this January. I look forward to helping him in managing the family's expenses," he said.

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