NEW DELHI - India's ruling Hindu Nationalist party is turning the bulldozer into a political symbol and, say opponents, a means of control. Hundreds of homes and businesses, mostly owned by Muslims, are being demolished in states run by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's BJP.

The government says it’s removing illegal structures. But Muslim groups say it's another form of oppression and injustice. We visit Nuh in the northern Haryana state, where the local BJP authorities have been knocking down buildings, to find out more.

Sectarian violence between Hindus and Muslims on the rise


The widow of a Hindu man killed in the violence says it was caused by a hardline Hindu nationalist march - after which bulldozers were sent in by the BJP-ruled state to destroy Muslim-owned businesses, reports Cordelia Lynch of Sky News.

It's dusk in Mudlada in Panipat, a city at the heart of India's cow belt - a state at the centre of a wave of recent communal clashes in India. Hindus consider cows to be sacred and some in Haryana are so desperate to protect them that they're allegedly willing to kill, reports Sky News.

At a watering hole, we meet a group of men who speak proudly about going on patrol to pull over Muslims they suspect of trying to transport and slaughter cows illegally. Violence, they say, is sometimes just necessary.

By night, we meet members of the Haryana Gau Raksha Dal, a group of so-called cow vigilantes who patrol highways trying to track down suspects.

They insist their patrols are co-coordinated with the police. "We have weapons only for self-defence and to save the cows…every Indian, it is their moral duty to save the cows from [being slaughtered]," Naryan Deswal tells me.

Under Hindu nationalist leaders, sectarian violence has flared in India. Critics of the government say the bulldozers have become a symbol of anti-Muslim hate, a vehicle for injustice.

Outside the mosque, one Muslim worshipper tells me, Hindu nationalism is intensifying a religious divide in the country. "They are hating other communities, so this is disturbing to any nation," he says. "Because if hate will be a cure, the nation will not progress."