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India's ongoing cycle of hate

From CNN Correspondent Ram Ramgopal

Temple attack
More than 30 people died when two terrorists raided the Swami Narayan temple complex

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CNN's Ram Ramgopal says the two temple gunmen may have been part of a previously unknown Indian Muslim dissident group.
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Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee tours the temple where 32 people were slain by terrorists. CNN's Satinder Bindra reports.
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AHMEDABAD, India (CNN) -- Terrorist killings at a temple in the western Indian state of Gujarat earlier this week were the latest in a series of religious incidents that have the potential for igniting mass violence.

Earlier this year, religious riots in Gujarat claimed more than a thousand lives, many of them Muslim.

Hindu monks were the target of Tuesday's terror strike. More than 30 people died when two terrorists raided the Swami Narayan temple complex, their assault rifles blazing and grenades exploding.

No one knows for sure who these two men were, and why they chose to unleash their weapons on innocent worshippers.

But they left behind clues that would suggest they could be homegrown Muslim terrorists, acting in retaliation for the deaths of hundreds of their own community in riots earlier this year.

Identical letters

Two identical letters reportedly found on the two terrorists, take credit in the name of a hitherto unknown movement for revenge in Gujarat.

Maulana Daood Kausar, the Imam of a mosque, helped Indian authorities translate the letters.

"It says, 'what they did to us a few months ago, to our women and children, and to our men, we are not going to take it. We have done this to take revenge against Hindu groups and the police'," he told authorities.

Amid talk of payback, security officials watched anxiously Thursday as Hindu groups call a nationwide strike to protest the temple killings.

The streets were deserted, the atmosphere somewhat tense, but the day passed off without the trouble that many had feared. Still, in a city hurting for months, violence and pain are still lurking below the surface.

Still, some officials suggest the terrorists who attacked the temple were backed by what they call India's enemy, an apparent reference to Pakistan, which shares a border with Gujarat state.

But the Pakistani government has condemned the incident and reacted angrily to India's suggestions it had a role in it.

At an intersection in Ahmedabad, a billboard erected by the police addresses the violence that has displaced so many families. "No one's right if no one's left," it says.

CNN spoke to many people who say they are tired of the cycle of riots, simmering resentment and retribution.

The view amongst the Hindu monks targeted by the terror attacks is that prayer may be one way to start to break the cycle of hate.

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