Gujarat: 1 dead, 174 held after protest over eviction notice to mosque

by Muslim Mirror Staff

A protest occurred in Junagadh, Gujarat, resulting in the death of one person and the detainment of 174 individuals. The unrest erupted between a mob and the police during an anti-encroachment operation.

On Friday night, a protest erupted allegedly in response to an eviction notice issued by the Junagadh Municipal Corporation to a mosque in the area. The notice required the mosque to submit certain documents within a five-day period.

Following allegations of illegal construction, the eviction notice served by the Junagadh Municipal Corporation was related to the mosque.

As the mosque did not respond within the stipulated five-day period, the Corporation initiated action.

On Friday evening, when a team from the Municipal Corporation arrived at the site to issue a demolition notice, a large crowd of around 500 to 600 people gathered in opposition.

According to Junagadh Superintendent of Police, Ravi Teja Vasamsetty, the situation intensified at approximately 10:15 p.m. as the crowd started throwing stones at the police and set multiple vehicles on fire. In order to regain control over the rapidly worsening situation, the police had no choice but to resort to a lathi charge, using batons to disperse the crowd and restore order.

“Police personnel got injured in this incident. A total of 174 people have been rounded up. A civilian has died prima facie due to stone pelting but it will be clear after the post-mortem report. Further investigation underway,” said Vasamsetty.

In response to the outbreak of violence, a significant reinforcement of police officers was deployed to the area with the aim of restoring order and bringing the situation under control.

On May 27, 2023, local authorities in Junagadh carried out a removal operation specifically aimed at addressing unlawful encroachments, despite facing protests. As part of this operation, a total of 176 illegal mazars (religious shrines) and 18 other religious sites have been dismantled thus far.

According to local sources, approximately eight bulldozers were deployed to aid in the removal operation, primarily within the Uparkot section of the city.

The execution of the removal operation aligns with the state government’s plan to renovate the Uparkot Fort in Junagadh. This initiative is estimated to require a budget of Rs 70 crore.

As part of the operation, residences that were ‘unlawfully established’ on the encroached lands have also been dismantled.

(with IANS inputs)

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