DEHRADUN: Tensions flared in Haldwani, Uttarakhand, as authorities were attacked while trying to dismantle a madrasa and mosque allegedly build on government property in Banbhoopura, a predominantly Muslim neighborhood.
Two people have been killed in the violence and other 250 have been injured. To address the escalating situation, four paramilitary companies were deployed.
Authorities are also considering internet shutdowns besides the indefinite curfew clampled in the root-affected area.
In addition to the paramilitary forces, the army is also scheduled to arrive by Saturday. District Magistrate Vandana has confirmed the arrival of the paramilitary forces and anticipates the military's presence in the affected area by Saturday morning.
On Friday, Nainital District Magistrate Vandana Singh informed about the attack on the administration and municipal team, stone-pelting, and arson incidents.
She said, "After the orders of the High Court, action has been taken against encroachments in various places in Haldwani".
"Notices and opportunities for hearings were extended to all parties involved. Some individuals sought recourse through the High Court, while others were granted additional time. In instances where time extensions were not granted, the Public Works Department and the municipal corporation proceeded with a demolition campaign", DM Vandana added.
On Friday, Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami held a high-level meeting with officials regarding the riots in Haldwani. During this meeting, the CM reviewed the current situation in Haldwani and provided necessary directions to the officers.
The CM instructed the police to deal firmly with the rioters. Dhami also urged the people of Haldwani to cooperate in maintaining peace and order.
Near the area of 'Malik ka Bagicha', the epicenter of the unrest, individuals were seen throwing stones from rooftops onto the streets below. The situation quickly escalated as the crowd grew increasingly aggressive, encircling officials and police officers, and launching a barrage of projectiles at them. Seeking safety, officers and constables sought refuge in nearby buildings, alleys, and any secure locations available to protect themselves from the onslaught.
During the attack, Constable Santosh Bisht, who was injured, said, "Even during the action against illegal construction, stones were raining down. I managed to protect myself with security measures. But as soon as the machine was removed, the crowd became aggressive. When we started running, some people from behind caught us and started hitting. However, some local residents took us into their homes and saved us."
Another constable Chandra Kandpal, who was injured in stone-pelting, said, "There was continuous stone pelting and protesters were also raising slogans against the removal of encroachments. Despite our efforts to defend ourselves, we suffered several injuries to our hands and feet in the process".