FEBRUARY 10, 2024
“Stones pelted from stocked rooftops prompt police retaliation with tear gas, officials report.”
Important points from the provided text:
Five people have died: This indicates the severity and consequences of the situation.
Widespread violence: Highlights the intensity and scale of the conflict surrounding the demolition.
Demolition of an illegal madrasa: The focus of the conflict, indicating the contentious nature of religious institutions built on disputed land.
Location: Uttarakhand’s Haldwani: Provides context and specificity to the incident.
Heavy police presence: Suggests the seriousness with which authorities approached the demolition, potentially hinting at attempts to maintain order or deter resistance.
Clearing government land allegedly encroached upon by the madrasa: The underlying reason for the demolition, indicating a legal dispute over land use and ownership.
Compliance with a court order: Implies that the authorities were acting within the bounds of the law, potentially to preempt accusations of arbitrary action.
Statement from Senior Superintendent of Police Prahlad Meena: Provides an official perspective on the events, indicating a degree of transparency and accountability in the handling of the situation.
Officials have reported that stones were hurled at them from rooftops, seemingly premeditated as the stones appeared to have been stockpiled, leading to the police responding with tear gas. This confrontation resulted in injuries to over 100 security personnel, along with administration officials, municipal workers, and journalists caught in the fray. The situation escalated further as vehicles outside the police station were set ablaze, prompting the police to take about 50 individuals into custody, with a case filed against 5,000 unidentified individuals allegedly involved in the violence.
Uttarakhand police chief Abhinav Kumar has declared that action will be taken, including under the National Security Act, against those responsible for attacking police personnel. Despite the clash, no further incidents of violence were reported over the following days from Banbhoolpura, where a madrasa was demolished. Although curfew has been lifted from outer areas of the town, it remains in place in Banbhoolpura. Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami, after visiting Haldwani and meeting some of the injured, labeled the violence a “planned attack,” citing the stockpiling of arms, stones, and petrol bombs by rioters. He condemned the brutality inflicted on women police personnel and attempted violence against a journalist, describing it as an assault on the peaceful fabric of Uttarakhand.