Police in India Arrest Over 100 anti-Sharon Demonstrators

Mumbai police arrested more than 100 Muslims who were demonstrating yesterday against the visit of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. The arrests came amid growing concern over possible terror attacks targeting Sharon and his entourage, which contains more than 100 people.

According to the Times of India, New Delhi police forces are keeping a close watch on some groups of radical Palestinian students who may try to cause disturbances during Sharon's three-day visit to New Delhi.

The newspaper quoted intelligence reports that said the Muslim Students' Union, a group of Palestinian students based in the city of Pune, was planning some "action" during Sharon's visit and that several members of the Pune-based group had arrived in New Delhi.

"We know for a fact that they are armed and capable of causing damage. The movements of the Palestinian students in Delhi are also being closely watched," a senior police officer told the Times.

He did not rule out the possibility that these students could be used by local militant groups, such as Jaish-e-Mohammed or Lashkar-e-Taiba, to cause massive disturbances in the city.

The New Delhi police had earlier admitted that Jaish or Lashkar terrorists could be employed by Hamas or even Al-Qaida to foment trouble in the city, the paper reported.

Israel Radio reported yesterday that demonstrators gathered in a predominantly Muslim section of Mumbai raised banners and chanted anti-Israel slogans.

Nearly half of them were detained by police. Authorities are expecting more protests in other cities across India.