At least five people, including two police personnel, were killed in clashes between Hindus and Muslims that erupted on Monday around 50 km (30 miles) south of the capital New Delhi, police officials told Reuters.
The violence erupted after a Hindu religious procession passed through the Muslim-dominated Nuh region, in Haryana state, the officials said. By evening, the violence had spilled over into neighboring Gurugram, where a mosque was torched, killing the cleric and injuring another person.
Gurugram, formerly known as Gurgaon, shares a border with New Delhi and has emerged as a business hub for the country, housing several multinational companies.
The cause of the standoff
Officials from the local administration in Nuh said they were investigating the cause of the standoff. Local government officials from Nuh and Gurugram met with representatives of the Hindu and Muslim communities on Tuesday to appeal for calm.
"The procession was meant to move from one temple to another but clashes broke out between two groups on the way, which resulted in the death of four people," Krishan Kumar, spokesperson of Nuh police, told Reuters.
He said two of the dead were members of the home guard, a voluntary force that helps police control civil disturbances.
Another 60 people, including 10 police personnel, were injured in the clashes, local government officials said.
Prohibitory orders had already been issued for Gurugram after some cars were set on fire on Monday evening, and schools and colleges had been directed to remain closed on Tuesday.
"The attackers (who torched the mosque) have been identified and several of them have been rounded up," Gurugram Police said in a statement on Tuesday, adding that security around places of worship had also been tightened.
Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, in a post on messaging platform X, formerly known as Twitter, also condemned the incident in Nuh, where curfew orders have been imposed, the internet shut off, and additional security forces deployed.