Haldwani: Uttarakhand on alert after four dead in clashes over mosque demolition
At least four people have died in violence in a northern Indian state after authorities demolished a mosque, alleging it was constructed illegally.
Violence erupted in Haldwani, Uttarakhand during an alleged "anti-encroachment drive," targeting illegal constructions, including a mosque and a madrassa. Muslims claim unfair targeting, leading to clashes with police, resulting in injuries on both sides. Protesters set vehicles ablaze, threw stones, and faced tear gas. A curfew is imposed, with "shoot at sight" orders to control the situation. The incident occurred in Banbhoolpura, an area with prior eviction notice controversies. Officials cite a high court order for clearing illegal settlements, asserting the mosque and madrassa were on government land without proper registration. Locals dispute this, claiming the mosque was demolished before a court decision. Rising tensions over mosque demolitions in recent months coincide with accusations of unfair targeting under Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government. Muslim groups allege religious polarization ahead of upcoming elections. Haldwani witnesses internet shutdowns, school closures, and increased police presence. The violence follows Uttarakhand's passage of the Uniform Civil Code, contested by Muslims who view it as interference with Islamic practices. The situation remains tense amid heightened security measures.