Uttarakhand state in India has been placed on high alert following the demolition of a mosque that resulted in five fatalities
Following the demolition of a mosque by authorities, resulting in at least five fatalities, the Indian state of Uttarakhand remained on alert as reported by BBC on Friday. Violence erupted in Haldwani town during what police described as an “anti-encroachment drive” aimed at removing illegal structures, including the mosque and a combined madrasa.
Muslim worshipers attending the mosque alleged unfair targeting, asserting that they were singled out. The clashes that ensued on Thursday night caused numerous injuries to both police officers and demonstrators.
Online videos depicted demonstrators hurling stones and setting vehicles ablaze while police responded with tear gas. To restore order, the state issued “shoot at sight” orders and imposed a curfew.
District Magistrate Vandana Singh confirmed the demolition of the madrasa and mosque, stating they were unlawfully constructed on government property and not recognized as religious buildings. Singh emphasized that the operation was not aimed at any particular community and began peacefully before escalating into violence.
However, locals disputed the district administration’s claims, asserting that the mosque was demolished before the court could issue a final decision. Shakeel Ahmad, a local councilor, claimed that they requested the administration to halt the demolition until the court’s verdict was reached.
Tensions regarding mosque demolitions have heightened in recent months. Muslims allege unfair targeting by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist administration, accusing it of instigating religious conflicts ahead of the upcoming general elections in two months.