Indian authorities have imposed a curfew in the northern city of Agra after one person was killed and several others injured in violent clashes triggered by a road accident. As Anjana Pasricha reports from New Delhi, police have closed the famous Taj Mahal monument to tourists.
The violence in Agra - home to the world famous Taj Mahal - erupted after four Muslim men were hit by a truck and killed before dawn Wednesday.
The victims were returning home from a religious festival in which Muslims visit graveyards and pray for the dead.
The angry crowd set fire to at least 20 trucks, including the one involved in the road accident. Television footage showed smoke billowing from the vehicles.
Rampaging mobs also blocked the highway and threw stones at police called in to quell the violence. A shoe factory was set on fire. Several policemen and firefighters were among those injured in the violence. The rioting paralyzed the town for many hours.
Agra is located in Uttar Pradesh state. Uttar Pradesh Home Secretary J.N. Chamber explained how the mayhem began.
He says traffic restrictions had been imposed to allow a big crowd of Muslims to return from the religious observances, but some trucks were apparently still allowed to use the road, leading to the fatal accident.
Authorities clamped a curfew on several areas of the town, and shut down schools and colleges as tensions intensified.
They also closed down the city's most famous landmark - the Taj Mahal - and advised tourists not to leave their hotels.
Agra was once the seat of the Mughal emperors who ruled the Indian subcontinent from the mid-16th to the mid-19th centuries. Hundreds of foreign tourists visit the city every day to see the 17th century monument built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan for the love of his life, Mumtaz Mahal.