• Sunday, May 29, 2022

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As election nears, religious tensions surge in an Indian village

A relative of Yogesh Raj, a Hindu activist, cries after Raj got arrested for leading the protests in which two people died on Monday, in Nayabans village in Bulandshahr district, Uttar Pradesh. — Reuters

By: Sarwar Alam

Nayabans isn’t remarkable as northern Indian villages go. Sugar cane grows in surrounding fields, women carry animal feed in bullock carts through narrow lanes, people chatter outside a store, and cows loiter. But this week, the village in Uttar Pradesh state became a symbol of the deepening communal divide in India as some Hindu men from the area complained they had seen a group of Muslims slaughtering cows in a mango orchard a couple of miles away. That infuriated Hindus, who regard the cow as a sacred animal. Anger against Muslims turned into outrage that police had not stopped an illegal practise, and…

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