The Nainital district administration on Friday claimed that the mob unrest was a pre-planned move by the rioters
Dehradun: Uttarakhand’s foothill town of Haldwani remained tense and under curfew after Thursday's violence that broke out over the demolition of an illegally built madrasa resulted in four deaths. The Nainital district administration on Friday claimed that the mob unrest was a pre-planned move by the rioters.
More than 250 people were hurt as local residents hurled stones and petrol bombs at municipal workers and the police after the Haldwani Municipal Corporation’s anti-encroachment team demolished the illegally built madrasa late on Thursday evening. The injured, three of whom are said to be in critical condition, were taken to hospitals for treatment.
Nainital district magistrate (DM) Vandana Singh and senior superintendent of police (SSP) Prahlad Meena, in a joint press conference on Friday morning, confirmed two deaths. Later in the day, Ms Singh informed the media that the death toll had risen to four. A curfew was imposed and a shoot-at-sight order issued, the officials said, adding that four arrests were made for inciting violence.
The Nainital district magistrate said the mob went on rampage, leading to lawlessness in the town without any provocation by the police deployed in the Malik-ka-Bagicha area, where illegally built structures were constructed.
"The more time they were given in the notification for voluntarily removing illegal structures, the more they prepared for the violence. It was a planned move by the mob. They prepared for the violence and arson from February 3 to February 8," said Ms Singh, sharing the details of the Thursday evening incident and how the mob of rioters went on rampage without any provocation from police.
The district administration officials said the preparation of the mob was evident considering the huge stockpile of stones collected and pelted at the security forces. First, they pelted stones at the security forces. Next, they hurled petrol bombs. After the situation was brought under control, they gheraoed the Banbhoolpura police station and set it on fire with a plan to suffocate and kill the officials trapped inside.
"The mob was not protesting for the desecrated illegal structures, but they tried to challenge the state machinery," said Ms Singh, adding that none of the accused will be spared by the law enforcement agencies.
Meanwhile, the curfew that was clamped in Haldwani on Thursday night by the district administration remained enforced. More than 1,100 security personnel, including state police, Provincial Armed Constabulary and paramilitary forces, were deployed to maintain law and order in Haldwani, nearly 50 km from Nainital.