In a recent flare-up in Haldwani, Nainital district magistrate Vandana Singh addressed the public, saying that the incident, which resulted in the loss of two lives, was not a case of communal violence. She said that the perpetrators behind the violence would be identified and brought to justice.
“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,” she stated, urging people not to escalate the situation into a communal issue.
Singh confirmed that two individuals lost their lives during the violence. She said that the property being demolished was not a “registered” Madrasa but rather an empty structure without any religious recognition.
“It is an empty property that has two structures, which are not registered as religious structures or have been given any such recognition. Some call the structure a Madrasa,” she explained.
“The demolition drive started peacefully, the force was deployed for prevention…Stones were pelted on our Municipal Corporation’s team…It was planned that the day the demolition drive would be conducted the forces would be attacked…The first mob with stones were dispersed and the second mob that came in had petrol bombs. This was unprovoked and our team did not use any force,” she said.
She said that the demolition drive was carried out in accordance with a high court order, with notices given to affected parties. However, despite the proper procedure, violence erupted.
Singh said that efforts were made by the mob “to terrorize the area” and highlighted the priority of protecting public safety and property.
“A curfew has been clamped in Haldwani. Hundreds of police personnel have been deployed to maintain peace in the city. A shoot-at-sight order has been issued for rioters,” the district magistrate concluded.