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Riots Break Out in India Over Sikh Temple Shooting in Austria

Riots broke out in northern India Monday following the killing of a Sikh preacher at a temple in Austria.

Crowds in northern Punjab state torched railway cars and defied curfews around the city of Jalandhar.

Police say two men were killed in separate incidents after security forces opened fire to disperse angry mobs. Several people were injured in the mayhem.

The protesters were demonstrating against the death of Sant Rama Nand, who was shot dead while visiting a temple in Vienna on Sunday by rival Sikhs from a higher caste.

Sixteen other people, including another visiting preacher, were wounded in the Austrian capital when the rival Sikhs attacked worshipers with knives and at least one gun.

Police say the rival Sikhs apparently were incensed when the temple awarded a high religious honor to one of the visiting preachers.

Austrian authorities say a rival Sikh temple had threatened violence if the preacher proceeded with the planned visit.

A police spokesman said six suspects are in custody, including four of those wounded.

India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, himself a Sikh, said he was deeply distressed by the attack and subsequent violence.

He issued an appeal for calm, saying, "Whatever the provocation, it is important to maintain peace and harmony among different sections of the people."

Caste discrimination has been outlawed in India, but elements of the system still exist.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.