Police in Tamil Nadu were given shoot-on-sight orders after mobs burned shops and buses and attacked a movie theater in Madras. The rioting appeared to have begun as an expression of grief, as there were no rumors alleging foul play in [Marudur Gopalan Ramachandran]'s death.
Ramachandran was a central figure in efforts to end the guerrilla war by Tamil rebels in Sri Lanka, an island nation south of India. Tamil Nadu state, which is just 20 miles from Sri Lanka, is home to about 50 million Indian Tamils.
The Indian Tamils' sympathy for their Sri Lankan counterparts was the prime reason for India's sponsorship of a peace accord to end the four-year Tamil war in Sri Lanka. After the July 29 signing, India sent troops to Sri Lanka to enforce the treaty.
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