In those awful blood soaked days of Partition 55 years ago, a million Hindus and Muslims were killed fleeing between India and Pakistan. They died on the roads, in their homes and on the trains. And ever since, the worst threat to India’s young democracy is a return to just that kind of violence. Two weeks ago it started again, when angry Muslims set fire to a train filled mostly with Hindu devotees. Hindus struck back, and by the time the fighting in nearby streets and neighborhoods stopped, over 700 people had been killed.
A court injunction, 14,000 troops and a last-minute deal averted more bloodshed today, but tensions remain high, in the holy city of Ayodhya, across North India, and in Parliament.
Sir Mark Tully, former BBC India correspondent, author of No Full Stops in India, and currently a freelance journalist based in Delhi
Ashutosh Varshney, Director of the Center for South Asian Studies at the University of Michighan, and author of “Ethnic Conflict & Civic Life: Hindus and Muslims in India”