New Delhi: Concerned about the Indians in Bahrain, the External Affairs Ministry on Friday said that India is closely following the developments in Bahrain and is in regular touch with representatives of the Indian community numbering over 350,000, who are reported to be safe.
"India is closely following the developments in Bahrain. Our Mission in Manama is in regular touch with representatives of the Indian community numbering over 350,000, who are reported to be safe. We hope that calm soon returns and prevails in Bahrain," said External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vishnu Prakash.
At least five persons were killed on Thursday, when scores of heavily armed riot police officers rushed into Pearl Square, firing shotguns, tear gas and concussion grenades at the thousands of demonstrators, who were sleeping there as part of a widening protest against the nation's absolute monarchy.
Thousands of protesters are continuing to occupy a square in Bahrain's capital, Manama, demanding political reform and greater freedom.
The opposition groups are not calling for the ruling Sunni monarchy to be ousted, but they want an end to its grip on key decisions and government posts.
Other demands, listed on a poster erected in the ''Pearl Square'', included the release of all political prisoners, more jobs and housing, an elected Cabinet and the replacement of longtime Prime Minister, Sheik Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa.
Bahrain is one of the most politically volatile nations in the Middle East's wealthiest corner despite having one of the few elected Parliaments and some of the most robust civil society groups.
The nation's majority Shi’ites - about 70 per cent of the population of some 500,000 - have long complained of discrimination and being blackballed from important state jobs.
First Published: Saturday, February 19, 2011, 09:59