03:16 GMT21 April 2021
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    Last week, a Muslim boy in Uttar Pradesh state was beaten up by a man for entering a Hindu temple to drink water. Video footage of the incident has gone viral on social media.

    Signs have been put up outside several temples across India's Himalayan state of Uttarakhand banning non-Hindus from entering. 

    "This premise is a holy place of Hindus. The entry of non-Hindus impermissible here" reads the banners sponsored by Hindu Yuva Vahini, a pro-Hindu youth group founded in 2002 by Yogi Adityanath – the current state chief of Uttar Pradesh, where a boy was recently assaulted for entering a Hindu temple. 

    Images of the signs outside the Hindu temples have surfaced on Indian social media, fuelling strong reactions online.

    While some people back the move and call for “maintaining the sanctity of the holy worship places of Hindus,” some have slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government for giving Hindus preferential treatment in India, where several religions coexist. 

    Uttarkhand, known as “Dev Bhoomi” (the land of Gods), has a number of significant and ancient temples dedicated to different Hindu deities. They are visited by thousands of national and international tourists each year.

    Photos of the state authorities removing the signs have also surfaced on Twitter – and while some appreciate the move, pro-Hindu supporters are critical.

    ​A legal case has been launched against members of the right-wing Hindu Yuva Vahini organisation under Section 153A of the Indian Penal Code for stoking hostility between different groups on the  grounds of religion, race, place of birth, etc.

    In recent days, Uttarakhand has dominated headlines in India after its leadership was reshuffled by India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) – which also governs the state.

    Tirath Singh Rawat, the newly appointed state chief of the Himalayan state, has been speaking at public events and stoking controversy with his remarks. Recently, many Indian women flooded social media with pictures of themselves wearing ripped jeans after Rawat questioned the clothing choice of men and women in India.

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