Haldwani, 9th February 2024: In the aftermath of the recent unrest in Haldwani, sparked by the demolition of an unauthorized madrasa in Banbhoolpura, Nainital District Magistrate Vandana Singh has characterized the events as premeditated and unprovoked. Singh elucidated that the violence was orchestrated by assailants strategically positioned on rooftops, armed with stones, petrol bombs, and firearms. The targeted assault was not only aimed at the Banbhoolpura Police Station but also included the destruction of vehicles, signalling a deliberate attack on state institutions rather than a defence of the madrasa structure.
Approximately 15-20 individuals allegedly fueled the crowd during the demolition, resulting in a rapid escalation of tensions despite the administration’s adherence to legal procedures in removing encroachments. The situation quickly spiralled out of control, with the district magistrate stressing that no actions taken by the police or administration endangered lives or property during the assault.
In terms of casualties, the district magistrate clarified that the death toll currently stands at two, contrary to earlier confusion surrounding the figure. Four individuals have been apprehended in connection with the violence, and three FIRs have been lodged to address the incident. Law enforcement authorities have also identified over two dozen individuals suspected of instigating the violence, underscoring the complexity of the situation.
Following the outbreak of violence, the district administration swiftly imposed a curfew in Haldwani and authorized a ‘shoot-at-sight’ directive against rioters to maintain public order. The aftermath of the unrest has resulted in numerous injuries, with approximately 100 individuals reported wounded, highlighting the severity of the situation and the urgent need for decisive action to restore peace and stability in the region.