Amid Flames and Gunfire, They Were Evicted From Where They Called Home

Critics say an Indian state’s campaign to expel longtime residents on government land marks the ruling party’s latest campaign against Muslims.

Credit…Karan Deep Singh/The New York Times

Karan Deep Singh and 

DHOLPUR, India — Ahmad Ali watched helplessly as the police set his home on fire.

They swarmed into his village, wielding sticks, to beat up participants in what local residents described as a peaceful protest against forced evictions. When the protesters fought back, they opened fire, killing two people, including a 12-year-old boy. Then the police began burning local homes and the possessions inside: a bed, a quilt, hay for feeding their cattle.

“Please see!” said Mr. Ali in a video of the incident, speaking to a national and world audience. “Are we lying?”

Videos and descriptions of the violence shocked much of India after they went viral last month and drew world attention to a government campaign of forced evictions in a far northeastern corner of the country. Local government officials said they were targeting an exploding population of illegal immigrants from Bangladesh squatting on land needed for vital agricultural projects.

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