Haldwani violence: What led to the ‘communal’ flareup? | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

Haldwani violence: What led to the ‘communal’ flareup?

Feb 09, 2024 02:19 PM IST

Haldwani violence: Communal tensions gripped after the district administration conducted a demolition of an “illegally built” madrasa in the area on Thursday.

Communal tensions gripped Uttarakhand's Haldwani on Thursday evening after a mob clashed with the police over a demolition drive. According to the police, the rioters pelted stones at the municipal corporation officials and set vehicles on fire outside the Banbhulpura police station. Four people have been detained so far, while a dozen other attackers have been identified, the police said.

Haldwani: Vehicles set on fire by miscreants over the demolition of an "illegally built" madrasa at Banbhoolpura area, in Haldwani(PTI)
Haldwani: Vehicles set on fire by miscreants over the demolition of an "illegally built" madrasa at Banbhoolpura area, in Haldwani(PTI)

Two people died in the violence, whereas over a hundred people sustained injuries.

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What led to communal violence?

The district administration conducted the demolition of an “illegally built” madrasa in Haldwani on Thursday evening. According to the senior superintendent of police Prahlad Meena, a notice was served earlier on the madrasa constructed illegally on government land. This triggered the mob who then attacked the officials to stop the demolition. According to the police, around 15 to 20 people provoked the crowd during the demolition drive by the municipal corporation team.

Nainital district magistrate Vandana Singh on Friday said the attack was “pre-planned and unprovoked”, adding that the accused had collected stones on rooftops before the attack began.

“The attackers used petrol bombs, fired at the Banbhulpura police station, and set the vehicles on fire. They collected stones on the rooftops before the attack…the violence was pre-planned…The mob did not try to save the structure, they just attacked the state machinery and state symbols,” the District Magistrate said.

On the demolition of the “illegally-built” Madrasa, she said, “We decided to continue the demolition drive because there was no stay on the assets... A legal process to remove the encroachment is being carried out at various places and so it was done here too…It began peacefully. Despite the entire process being carried out properly, a large mob, within half an hour, attacked our municipal cooperation team,” the DM said.

‘Not communal’

Meanwhile, Singh claimed that the violence was, in fact, not a case of communal violence, adding that there was no particular community that retaliated to the violence.

Asserting that the rioters will be identified soon, the DM said, “The police station has been completely damaged by the mob...This is an unfortunate incident. The accused will be identified and strict action will be taken. This (incident) was not communal. I request everybody to not make it communal or sensitive. Any particular community did not retaliate...This was an effort to challenge the state machinery, state govt, and the law and order situation...A briefing will be done again in the evening.”

Communal violence in Haldwani in the past

A similar situation of communal tensions took place in Haldwani last year in April after a group of 30 to 40 people protested outside a house used by Muslims for offering prayers, accusing them of illegally constructing a mosque at the site in Bhotia Padao area. Following this, a group of people belonging to the Muslim community gathered outside the Haldwani police station and raised slogans against them. They had also blocked the Nainital highway outside the police station, demanding the immediate arrest of the attackers.

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