1 dead, 174 detained after violent protest in Gujarat over anti-encroachment drive

One civilian died as stones were pelted at Gujarat police personnel by a mob protesting against an anti-encroachment drive in Junagadh

Junagadh: One person was killed and 174 others were detained after a violent protest broke out between a mob and police in Gujarat’s Junagadh over an anti-encroachment operation.

The protest on Friday night reportedly erupted in connection to an eviction notice served by the Junagadh Municipal Corporation to a local mosque, demanding for document submission within five days.

The notice was in relation to illegal construction allegations made against the mosque.

Due to a lack of response from the mosque after the five-day period, the Corporation proceeded with its action.

As a team from the Municipal Corporation arrived at the site to issue a demolition notice on Friday evening, a crowd of approximately 500 to 600 people gathered in opposition.

Junagadh Superintendent of Police, Ravi Teja Vasamsetty stated that the situation escalated at around 10.15 p.m. when the crowd began pelting stones at the police and set several vehicles ablaze.

To control the rapidly deteriorating situation, the police were forced to resort to lathi charge.

“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.

Following the outbreak of violence, a large reinforcement of police officers was deployed to the area to restore order and control the situation.

On May 27, 2023, local officials in Junagadh had executed a removal operation targeting unlawful encroachments, despite protests.

A total of 176 illegal mazars, along with 18 additional religious sites, have been dismantled to date.

Local sources note that about eight bulldozers were brought in to facilitate the removal operation within the Uparkot section of the city.

The operation comes in line with the state government’s decision to refurbish the Uparkot Fort in Junagadh, an initiative projected to cost Rs 70 crore.

Residences unlawfully established on the encroached lands have also been dismantled.

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