Opposition Indian politicans organized an attack on the U.S. consulate in Calcutta yesterday, while Hindus battled Moslem demonstrators in the southern city of Hyderabad and 10,000 marched in the second straight day of anti-American protests in Dacca, Bangladesh.
At least eight policemen were injured in the Calcutta attack. Police used clubs and tear gas to keep the crowd of 1,000 outside the U.S. mission. uThe demonstrators set fire to vehicles on the street, then rampaged through downtown Calcutta, attacking the Soviet consulate, looting shops and burning buses and streetcars.
Police said two groups of demonstrators, protesting alleged U.S. involvement the Tuesday assault on the Great Mosque of Mecca, were jointly organized by former prime minister Indira Gandhi's Congress Party, which hopes for Moslem support in January elections, and a Moslem party. Representatives of both groups were seen exhorting crowds outside the consulate.
In another violent reaction to events in Mecca, where the Saudi Arabian government yesterday announced that attackers had been captured after a three-day siege at the Grand Mosque, fighting broke out in Hyderabad, in southern India, after Hindu shopkeepers refused to join a Moslem-organized strike. The United News of India said that seven persons were injured, several arrested and a 30-hour curfew imposed.
In New Delhi, the capital, the U.S. Embassy and American Center were closed without notice as a security precaution.
About 70 million of India's 640 million people are Moslem.
In neighboring Bangladesh, about 10,000 Moslems chanting anti-American and anti-Zionist slogans marched through the streets of Dacca. As the crowd converged in front of Dacca's central mosque after saying weekly prayers, the Saudi ambassador, who had attended the prayers, read a statement from the Saudi Interior minister and categorically denied any foreign country, including the United States and Iran, had been involved in the attack.
In the Philippines, which also has a large Moslem population, riot police and crack commandos moved in to guard the U.S. Embassy in Manila based on intelligence reports that Iranian students would march on the compound.
The reports came after a powerful American Navy task force left a U.S. naval base in the Philippines for the Indian Ocean following U.S. threats to military action to free 49 American hostages held in Iran for the 20th day.
About 20 policemen, including several commandos trained in hostage and hijack situations, arrived at the embassy grounds to beef up the compound's own security force, but by nightfall there were no sign of demonstrators. Philippine authorities have warned the estimated 3,000 Iranian students in the country of possible deportation if they took part in illegal assemblies.
In Warsaw yesterday, Poland's Roman Catholic primate, Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski, appealed to Iranian authorities to release the American hostages. The official Polish news media has carried detailed coverage of the events in Tehran without any commentary.
Chinese Communist Party Chairman Hua Guofeng yesterday expressed concern in Peking over events in Iran, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, where demonstrators burned down the American Embassy Wednesday, and said he feared a boost in Soviet influence in the Middle East if the crisis between Iran and the United States was not resolved. His comments were reported by visiting Belgian Vice Premier Willy Claes.