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Violence Erupts In Haldwani Over Demolition Drive, Curfew Imposed, Shoot-At-Sight Ordered

Violence Erupts In Haldwani Over Demolition Drive, Curfew Imposed, Shoot-At-Sight Ordered
Communal tensions flared in Haldwani, Nainital district, Uttarakhand, following an anti-encroachment drive in Banbhulpura. The demolition of an ‘illegally’ constructed madrasa and an underground mosque-like structure on government land led to violent clashes on Thursday evening.

In response to the escalating violence, the District Magistrate (DM) of Nainital imposed a curfew in the volatile Banbhulpura area. All-access roads leading to the affected area have been barricaded to control the situation.

The state government issued orders authorising law enforcement to use lethal force against unruly elements, including implementing a shoot-on-sight directive for rioters.

Uttarakhand DGP Abhinav Kumar provided details, stating that the anti-encroachment drive, conducted by a joint team of District Administration and Police as per a court order, faced opposition around 4 pm.

“Anti-social elements reportedly pelted stones, engaged in arson, and even fired at the police using illegal weapons. The situation prompted immediate intervention from DIG Kumaon, and additional police forces were summoned,” Kumar was quoted as saying by ANI.

As of now, the situation is tense but under control, with several police personnel and administration officials injured but no reported casualties, said Uttarakhand DGP.

Reports indicate that the situation escalated rapidly as enraged residents engaged in stone pelting against police and officials. Barricades were erected, and vehicles were set ablaze during the unrest, resulting in injuries to several police officers and district administration officials, Hindustan Times reported.

As per the report, Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami has conducted an emergency meeting to assess the situation, with Chief Secretary Radha Raturi, Director General of Police Uttarakhand Abhinav Kumar, and ADG (Law and Order) AP Anshuman in attendance.

Reacting to the development, Former Uttarakhand CM Harish Rawat said, “I am very concerned and sad looking at the situation in Haldwani. The history of Haldwani has been that of peace, harmony, brotherhood, and progress. Today, we are ashamed of the situation that has arisen there. All the sides should maintain peace and try to have harmony once again. I have contacted a lot of people. The people in Haldwani are sad”.

This outbreak of violence follows a Supreme Court stay on the Uttarakhand High Court’s order to demolish over 4,000 homes on railway land, which had previously sparked protests from nearly 50,000 residents fearing displacement.

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