How the ‘love jihad’ fuse was lit in Uttarakhand

Hindutva vigilantes, local journalists and politicians pushed a social media rumour steeped in the right-wing conspiracy theory, forcing several Muslim traders out of Uttarkashi district.

The single-lane road leading up to Purola, a mountain town in Uttarakhand’s Uttarkashi district, is of little interest to tourists. Neither adventurers heading to the nearby Yamunotri glacier nor devotees flocking to the temple town of Badrinath to the east have to take this route. So, the nearly 35,000 residents of Purola have relatively few links with the outside world.

The first sign of human settlement is a fuel station that welcomes visitors to Purola, which lies about 144 kilometres from state capital Dehradun. It was here in the evening of 26 May that Sonu, a tempo driver, says he …


Ayush Tiwari

Ayush reported on the travails of the media and social media platforms in India at The Morning Context. He was previously at Newslaundry, where he reported on sectarian violence and politics from Northeast India, Kashmir and North India.