GANDHINAGAR, India (AP) -- India deployed thousands of troops to prevent an eruption of Hindu-Muslim rioting Wednesday after gunmen attacked a major Hindu temple complex in a raid that left 32 people dead, most of them worshippers.
India blamed its bitter rival Pakistan for the assault, which lasted 14 hours until Indian commandos stormed the temple at dawn Wednesday and killed the two gunmen. Pakistan denied the accusation, which hiked up tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbors.
In the western state of Gujarat, where the temple is located, fears were high that the assault would re-spark sectarian bloodshed that tore the state apart earlier this year. At least 1,000 people were killed in Gujarat, most of them Muslims slain by Hindu mobs, in riots after a Muslim attack on Hindu train passengers in February.
After visiting the temple, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee called for an end to the cycle of violence. "First there is a violent incident in one place, then there is mindless revenge," he said. "We need to end this. The spirit of amity should also prevail in Gujarat."
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