Violence erupts in Uttarakhand’s Haldwani after madrasa demolition; shoot-at-sight ordered

  1. Communal tension gripped the Haldwani area of Nainital district on Thursday evening following the demolition of a madrasa and an underground mosque-like structure that were illegally constructed on government land in the Banbhulpura area.

According to officials, a joint team from the Nainital district administration and local civic authorities undertook the demolition on Nazool land, leading to a violent backlash from enraged locals.

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Reports indicate that the situation escalated quickly as angry residents began pelting stones at the police and officials, setting up barricades, and torching vehicles. Some police officers and district administration officials sustained injuries from the stone pelting.

The district administration has imposed a curfew in the restive Banbhulpura area and all roads leading to it have been barricaded.

The state government also issued orders authorising law enforcement to use lethal force against unruly elements and even shoot rioters on sight.

Chief minister Pushkar Singh Dhami convened an emergency meeting to review the escalating situation. Chief Secretary Radha Raturi, Director General of Police Uttarakhand Abhinav Kumar, and ADG (Law and Order) AP Anshuman were present at the meeting.

Dhami said that the administration’s action was in response to a court order, as they embarked on an anti-encroachment drive in the area.

“Anti-social elements there entered into a brawl with the Police. A few Police personnel & administrative officials sustained injuries. Additional companies of Police and Central Forces are being sent there. We have appealed to everyone to maintain peace. Curfew is in place. Strict action will be taken against rioters and encroachers who committed arson,” he told ANI.

SSP Prahlad Meena said the madrasa demolition took place after a prior notice to the residents. The demolition was carried out in the presence of Municipal Commissioner Pankaj Upadhyay, City Magistrate Richa Singh, SDM Paritosh Verma, he added.

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