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Indian groups protest Saddam execution; government says it's 'disappointed'

Indian groups protest Saddam execution; government says it's 'disappointed'

Muslim and communist groups in India held angry protests and the government said it was disappointed by the execution Saturday of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.
"We had already expressed the hope that the execution would not be carried out. We are disappointed that it has been," said a statement from External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee.
"We hope that this unfortunate event will not affect the process of reconciliation, restoration of peace and normalcy in Iraq," Mukherjee said.
Saddam was sentenced to death in November after being convicted of murder in the deaths of 148 Shiite Muslims from an Iraqi town where assassins tried to kill him in 1982.
Saddam's execution evoked mixed reactions around the world, with countries such as the United States and Australia welcoming it.
However, hours after the execution, communist and Muslim groups in India demonstrated in several cities, burning effigies of U.S. President George W. Bush.
India has the world's second-largest Muslim population, after Indonesia, totalling some 140 million.
The governing party in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, home to most of India's Muslims, said it would observe Jan. 4 as a "Black Day" to protest Saddam's execution.
It was not immediately clear why that date was chosen.
In the capital, New Delhi, police stopped about 400 protesters from communist parties as they marched toward the American center. They shouted anti-U.S. slogans and demanded that Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair be tried for war crimes.
"We condemn this barbaric execution," said Communist Party of India leader D. Raja.
The Sunni-dominated Muslim Council of India planned to hold a protest rally later Saturday in Mumbai, the country's financial center.
The council also planned to offer a special prayer for Saddam, said its chairman, Ibrahim Tai.
But several Shia Muslim groups, longtime rivals of the Sunnis, said they were happy.
"Saddam deserved nothing less than death," said Mirza Mohammad Athar, president of All India Shia Personal Law Board. "The hanging should be seen as a victory for justice."


Updated : 2021-08-03 19:27 GMT+08:00