Saturday, March 2, 2024
Saturday, March 2, 2024
HomeIndia30 arrested over Haldwani violence, Uttarakhand govt seeks more central forces

30 arrested over Haldwani violence, Uttarakhand govt seeks more central forces

Uttarakhand police said on Sunday that 30 people were arrested, including 25 in the last 24 hours, in connection with Thursday. Violence in Haldwani town, Nainital district. which left five dead and dozens injured. Several country-made weapons and live ammunition were recovered from those arrested, police said.

The state government has requested the Center to deploy four additional companies of paramilitary forces in the district.

On Sunday morning, a sense of normalcy returned to many parts of Haldwani as shops that had remained closed since the incident reopened and disrupted internet services resumed. However, curfew was maintained in the Banbhoolpura area, where the incident took place, and several local residents were seen packing their bags and leaving.

Violence broke out on Thursday after the administration carried out a campaign during which a mosque and a madrasa in Banbhoolpura were demolished. District authorities said both structures were on Nazool land, government land that is not officially mentioned in revenue records. While stones were pelted, cars were set on fire and the local police station was surrounded by a mob, Chief Minister Pushkar Dhami had given orders to shoot on sight.

Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Nainital Senior Superintendent of Police Prahlad Narayan Meena said, “In connection with the three FIRs registered, we have arrested 25 people in the last 24 hours. This includes 12 people for the attack on the police station, six for setting vehicles on fire outside the police station and seven in connection with the FIR registered in the Nagar Nigam complaint for violence during the anti-encroachment drive.” He said all those arrested were from Haldwani and the arrests were made within Nainital district limits.

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Thirty people detained over violence in Haldwani, some people flee affected area Policemen on duty during curfew in Banbhoolpura area in Haldwani on Sunday. (PTI)

However, Abdul Malik, who is now considered the main accused in the violence, remains at large, the SSP said.

Among the five people arrested earlier was Javed Siddiqui, brother of SP leader Matin Siddiqui. Of the 25 new arrests, 24 were not named in the FIRs. Only one accused named in the FIRs, Junaid, was among those arrested on Saturday and Sunday.

Regarding the arms and ammunition seized from those arrested, the SSP said: “We have also recovered seven country-made weapons and 54 live (ammunitions) from the possession of these persons…Furthermore, during the attack on Banbhoolpura police station, these Rioters looted some government ammunition. We have recovered some of the ammunition from these accused… More ammunition looted from the police station will be recovered. A revolver is also missing from the police station,” he said.

Earlier, in a letter sent to the Union Home Minister on Saturday, Uttarakhand Chief Secretary Radha Raturi requested four additional sets of central paramilitary forces.

“In view of the continued disruption of law and order by anarchist elements during the demolition of the encroachment at Malik ka Bagicha under Banbhoolpura police station area on February 8, four additional companies of the central paramilitary force are required to carry out with public order in the district. ”the letter said.

Increasing efforts by local police to arrest those involved in the violence have caused panic among some Banbhoolpura residents.

On Sunday morning, as state buses resumed services at Haldwani, several residents of Banbhoolpura were seen packing their bags and leaving, trying to avoid lanes with heavy police presence.

Some said they were staying with their relatives in other parts of the district, while others said they were heading to neighboring Uttar Pradesh.

“We live in constant fear. Yesterday (Saturday) afternoon, several police officers came to our houses between four and six in the afternoon and took some of the young people away for interrogation. We fear we could be next,” said a Banbhoolpura resident, who spoke on condition of anonymity, as she packed her bags to temporarily leave the city.

Unlike the rest of Haldwani city, almost all major intersections in the Banbhoolpura area have been barricaded, with additional police deployment near the homes of those who died during the violence. Essential supplies such as milk and food were allowed in, but only under police surveillance.

In the nearby Gafoor Basti slum, residents used logs and drums to block one of the main entrances to the slum. At the slightest hint of police activity in the area, residents of the slum could be seen quickly closing their doors and windows.

Attending an event in Champawat on Sunday, Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami said strict action would be taken against anti-social elements trying to disturb peace and harmony in the state, and his government would continue to take strong action against illegal invaders.

“In Haldwani, some anarchist elements even attacked women police officers and journalists. They snatched the journalists’ cameras and beat them with sticks and stones. They even tried to throw them into the fire… Our state is a peaceful state… I want to repeat that our government will continue to take strong action against anarchist elements and illegal invaders. Those involved in the riots will receive the punishment they deserve,” Dhami said.

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