Around six people have been killed due to bullet injuries hours after shoot-at-sight orders were issued by Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami on Thursday amid clashes between protestors and police over the demolition of a Madrasa (Islamic seminary) and mosque in Haldwani’s Banbhoolpura area.
Nainital District Magistrate Vandana Singh said three to four people died in the violence. “At the violence outside the Banbhoolpura police station, some people fired. In retaliation, the police also fired in the air. Three-four people were brought dead at hospitals with bullet injuries. Their identification is being done,” she said.
Janni and his son Anas, residents of Gafoor Basti, Aris (16) and Faheem, residents of Gandhinagar, Israr and Siwan (32) of Banbhoolpura were seriously injured in the firing that took place as the ruckus increased, they succumbed later, according to Hindustan newspaper.
A local, Ahmad* told The Observer Post that in the afternoon, a bulldozer razed a madrasa and an adjoining mosque.
“People came out to protest, police lathi-charged and fired rubber bullets, and tear gas shells at the residents, injuring those who had gathered to protest the demolition,” said Ahmad.
“Police used machine guns to shoot people,” Ahmad said adding, “Hindu mobs joined police and shot a Muslim youth, leaving him dead.”
Videos of the incident show Muslim women being lathi-charged by police officials.
Policemen and municipal workers involved in the demolition were also injured during the clashes. Some protestors also set police vehicles on fire.
At midnight on Thursday, Hindu mobs allegedly damaged Muslim-owned properties on the street while hurling abuses against Muslims despite a curfew being in place.
“Katuwo(a slur against Muslims), we will rape your sisters,” one of them can be heard saying.
Ahmad alleged that police also damaged Muslim properties and vehicles.
“Police damaged the windshields of vehicles which were parked outside,” alleged Ahmad.
The incident occurred a day after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-ruled Uttarakhand state enacted the Uniform Civil Code (UCC), becoming the first Indian state to do so.
The UCC mandates the formulation of one common law that all religious communities would be forced to adhere to in personal matters such as marriage, divorce, and inheritance, regardless of their religious practice.