More than 1,000 adherents of the Swadhin Bharat Vidhik Satyagrah religious movement were also reportedly detained during the operation. The area in the city of Mathura in the northern Uttar Pradesh state was cleared and eventually sealed off. Two of those killed during the eviction process were police officers.

“We had gone to clear the area but were fired upon by the miscreants. Two of our men died,” Hari Ram Sharma, a senior police officer, told the AFP news agency. Police initially responded with canes and tear gas, but Sharma added that they had to resort to live fire later on, resulting in the deaths of at least 13 activists. Some sources mentioned further deaths. State authorities ordered a probe into the deadly clashes.

TV news pictures showed many of the huts in the park on fire, with smoke billowing across the area.

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