Communal tension gripped Haldwani area of Nainital district on Thursday night after violence broke out in Banbhoolpura over the demolition of an “illegally built” madrasa, officials familiar with the matter said. The district magistrate has imposed a curfew in Banbhoolpura. A “shoot on sight” order has also been issued against rioters.
Nainital district magistrate Vandana (who uses her given name) said that between three and four people have been killed so far and more than 100 people, mainly police personnel, have been injured in the Banbhoolpura violence. Vandana said curfew was imposed in Haldwani to maintain law and order while internet services were also suspended in the city, adding that an order was also issued to keep schools closed in the area.
Key updates on communal violence in Haldwani:
- A curfew was imposed in Halwani after residents reportedly set vehicles on fire and threw stones, injuring at least 100 people, during the demolition of an “illegally built” madrasa.
- Police said most of the injured were hospitalized after the violence in the city’s Banbhoolpura area and were police personnel and municipal workers involved in the demolition of a local madrasa.
- Senior Superintendent of Police Prahlad Meena said a notice had earlier been given regarding the madrassa illegally built on government land.
- Nainital district magistrate Vandana said that during the violence outside Banbhoolpura police station, some people fired shots (whether these were illegal or legal weapons is being confirmed). “In response, the police fired shots into the air. Between three and four people were taken dead to hospitals due to gunshot wounds. Identification of the deceased is being carried out. We will have to wait to determine whether they died in police firing or by people firing at each other,” the DM said.
- Vandana claimed that the rioters tried to set the Banbhoolpura police station on fire. “At that time, our policemen were present at the police station. However, the police force controlled them and did not allow them to enter the police station. The violence then spread to Gandhi Nagar area near Banbhoolpura,” he said.
- The DM stated that it appears that the violence was “pre-planned and unprovoked” and that “the stones were stored in the houses beforehand.” “The rioters even used Molotov cocktails,” he added.
- According to the DM, the situation is now under control. The violence has been controlled in Banbhoolpura and was not allowed to spread to the main city. “Paramilitary forces have also been deployed in the area and more are on the way. Additional police forces from neighboring districts have also been deployed in the city to maintain law and order,” he said.
CM Dhami calls meeting
In the capital, Dehradun, Prime Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami called a meeting of senior officials. SSP Meena said the demolition was carried out in the presence of municipal commissioner Pankaj Upadhyay, city magistrate Richa Singh and SDM Paritosh Verma.
(With inputs from Neeraj Santoshi in Dehradun)