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As toll of Haldwani violence reaches five, DM claims mob ‘tried to burn police personnel alive’

The Haldwani district magistrate said on Friday that the mob tried to “burn alive the police personnel, who were trapped inside the police station”. Meanwhile, the number of victims of the previous day’s violence increased to five, while three are critical.

Violence broke out on Thursday after the administration carried out a demolition drive where a mosque and a madrasa were located, allegedly on Nazool land, in Banbhoolpura area. While stones were pelted, cars were set on fire and a police station was surrounded, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Dhami had given shoot-on-sight orders.

On Friday afternoon, Uttarakhand DGP Abhinav Kumar told The Indian Express that the toll was five o’clock. Police had previously said they were forced to shoot “in self-defense.” The district continued under curfew and intense police deployment.

Meanwhile, the DM said the property where the two structures were situated is registered as Nazool land of Nagar Nigam, government land which is not officially mentioned in the revenue records.

“The notice, issued on January 30, required that the encroachment be removed within three days or that ownership documents be produced. On February 3, several locals visited Nagar Nigam to chat with our team. They filed an application and sought time to appeal to the High Court, agreeing to abide by the court’s decision,” the DM said, emphasizing that they were not given more time as sufficient time had already been given.

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“That night, our forces held a flag march in preparation for the demolition the next day. However, locals submitted a 2007 High Court order issued to the then DM of Nainital regarding disposal of an application. Unable to verify the legality of the removal, we postponed the demolition to ensure compliance with proper legal procedures. We sealed the structure known as madrasa with consensus, confirming that it was unoccupied,” he said, noting that all legal formalities were completed before the demolition.

“The next day, after our office examined the 2007 order, the concerned party moved the High Court to stay the notice. After a two-day hearing, the High Court refused to grant any relief. As our preparations for the demolition were already completed, we proceeded with the campaign,” he said.

© The Indian Express Pvt Ltd

First uploaded on: 09/02/2024 at 09:17 IST

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