How Uttarakhand is selectively targeting Muslim shrines


Over the last month, Haldwani has been on the boil. After the town’s municipal corporation demolished a mosque and madrasa, the city saw a flare-up of violence in which six people were killed. Police then cracked down on Muslims, detaining several men and barricading areas in which the community lives.

The state’s drive against Muslim sites began early last year. While the administration claimed that it was acting against all encroachments, media reports and the accounts of locals make clear that Muslim shrines were disproportionately targeted.

For Common Ground, Astha Savyasachi reported from Uttarakhand and found several instances in which Hindu temples and sites were left untouched, though Muslim shrines nearby were razed to the ground.

Savyasachi found that in some places, even community graves were destroyed. She recounted that in Ramnagar, Ghulam Mustafa, a local Van Gujjar “crouched next to the remnants of his 10-year-old son’s demolished grave. His fingers traced the rubble while pointing to the shattered pieces of the tombstone, even as he held back tears. His son’s was among more than a hundred Van Gujjar graves demolished by the administration.”

She added, “I couldn’t help but wonder: how could a government persecute and discriminate against a community so much that, not just the living, it doesn’t even spare their dead?”

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