Indefinite curfew continues after 48 hours, reports of alleged police repression at Haldwani Kumoan Divisional Commissioner to hold Magisterial inquiry

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S. M. A. Kazmi

Dehradun–There has been no relaxation in curfew in Banphoolpur area of Haridwar town even after 48 hours of violence which broke out in ‘Malik ka Bagicha’ area of the town following demolition of a mosque and a ‘madrassa’ by the local administration on February 8, leading to brick batting by local Muslims, tear gas shelling and police firing resulting in the death of five persons and injuries to nearly a hundred people including police personnel, civil officials, journalists and locals.

While, curfew has been relaxed in most part of the Haldwani town but the Banphoolpura area predominantly Muslim locality has been under siege and there had been reports of police repression. Locals on condition anonymity said that police personnel are entering houses using ladders and beating up locals in the name of nabbing the alleged culprits of the mob violence on Thursday.

Uttarakhand police claimed that five people have been nabbed and three FIR’s registered in connection with the Thursday violence. It has been reported that action would be taken against five thousand people who were allegedly involved in mob violence. The five people arrested by Haldwani police are Mehboob Alam, Zeeshan Parvez, Arshad, Javed Siddiqui and Aslam. The police said that 20 more alleged culprits have been identified.

Nainital SSP Prahlad Narain Meena told media persons in the evening that situation in Haldwani is under control and curfew has been relaxed except Banphoolpur area. The internet services continue to remain suspended in Haldwani town for the past 48 hours as precautionary measure by the administration.

Meanwhile, a delegation of opposition parties of India alliance and civil society members led by Uttarakhand Congress Chief Karan Mahra met the Uttarakhand Governor Lt. Gen. Gurmit Singh (retd) and requested him to intervene in the matter and ask the state government to act as per the law and Constitution. The delegation emphasised that the state administration and administration should desist from communal and revengeful attitude and act as per the law. Later in the evening, opposition leaders and civil society members held a candle lit demonstration at Gandhi park and appealed of the state to maintain peace.

Indresh Maikhuri, secretary, CPI (ML) ina statement expressed deep concern at the reports of police repressions against men, women and children in Banphoolpur area. He said that law enforcing agencies cannot act as rowdies and the state administration is duty bound to uphold law and constitution. He further said that police should take action against the alleged culprits but collective punishments against entire more than 50,000 Muslim population is completely unacceptable.

“There had been numerous cases where local Muslims saved policemen and journalists from mob violence on Thursday. The police repression against women cannot be acceptable in a civil society,” said Indresh Maikhuri.

He further said that the state government owes an explanation on the reports about prior intelligence input about possibility of trouble following demolition of religious places at haldwani which were ignored.

Sumit Hariydesh, Haldwani Congress legislator who is in Dehradun when contacted said that he has received reports of police repression in the area but cannot confirm. He said that police has been making raids to nab the alleged culprits involved in the Thursday mob violence.

Reports from the besieged Banphoolpura area suggest that people had been suffering due to continuous indefinite curfew and want of essential commodities. On the other hand, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami who addressed a public meeting at Almora said that none would be spared and exemplary punishment should be given to all those involved in Haldwani violence.

Meanwhile, Uttarakhand Chief Secretary Radha Raturi has announced magisterial inquiry into the Haldwani violence. Kumoan Divisional Commissioner has been ordered to hold the inquiry and submit the report within 15 days.

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