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Uttarakhand: Five Killed in Haldwani Violence After Madrasa Demolition; Shoot-At-Sight Orders Issued

At around 3:30 pm on February 8, authorities arrived with bulldozers to demolish 'Malik ke Bagiche' ka Madarsa. Locals said that the officials refused to show the documents of the demolition order for the Madarsa. 

New Delhi: At least five people have been killed and around 60 injured in police firing in Uttarakhand’s Haldwani, where a Madarsa was demolished by municipal authorities.

At around 3:30 pm on February 8 (Thursday), authorities arrived with bulldozers to demolish ‘Malik ke Bagiche’ ka Madarsa. People on the ground told The Wire that they had neither been shown any order to demolish their sacred worship place nor were the authorities ready to listen to them.

Locals said that the officials refused to show the documents of the demolition order for the Madarsa.

“Our women were beaten with lathis by male police officers, and at least four men were injured by bullets in the area,” an eyewitness told The Wire.

It was learnt that officials only allowed two people to retrieve religious books on an immediate basis before demolishing the Madarsa. Despite people’s attempts and requests for officials to show the demolition order, they proceeded with force, leading to the escalation of the situation.

The eyewitness quoted above further said that a few police officers also got injured due to retaliation by some people from the area. “But what wrong had the women done to them?” he asked.

This Madarsa, demolished by the Uttarakhand authority, is located in the railway colony area where more than 4,000 families reside. The Centre wants the land for railway expansion, and the matter is already being heard in the Supreme Court

Earlier, according to news reports, shoot-at-sight orders were issued in the area, and security has been strengthened.

“DM [District Magistrate] Nainital has imposed curfew in Banbhoolpura and ordered a shoot-on-sight order for rioters,” news agency ANI reported.

Locals said that there was police firing at night too. “When we were inside our homes, police even fired at our doors. We’re living in fear, this should stop,” an eyewitness said.

The Wire reached out to the police multiple times. However, no response has been received yet till going to press. The copy will be updated if and when any response is received.

This is a developing story.