Women personnel of the Uttarakhand Police, who were deployed during the demolition of an illegally built madrasa and an adjoining mosque in Haldwani, said that they were scared and were not sure if they would come out of there safely after clashes broke out.
At least four people were killed and over 100 police personnel were injured after violence erupted in Haldwani over the demolition of the madrasa and an adjoining mosque in Banbhoolpura.
Hema Joshi, one of the women police personnel deployed during the clashes, told India Today TV, “We tried to run for our lives, but got stuck in the narrow lanes. I got really scared and I wasn’t sure if I would come out safely.”
She said that all roads were blocked as the rioters had torched all vehicles parked near the streets.
“It seemed like they were waiting for the right time to attack us,” Hema Joshi said.
Another police personnel Munesh said, “We were deployed at the location at 4.30 pm and the rioters attacked us immediately. The attack seemed pre-planned.”
She said that when the stone pelting began, the police tried to control the situation, but the rioters didn’t listen to them.
ATTACKS WERE PRE-PLANNED, SAYS DISTRICT MAGISTRATE
Nainital District Magistrate Vandana Singh said that the clashes in Haldwani were “pre-planned”.
Talking to India Today TV, the District Magistrate said, “Rioters had planned to attack us, and they had bought bricks, stones and petrol bombs in advance so that they could attack the administration whenever the demolition drive happened.”
The District Magistrate said that currently, the situation in Haldwani is normal, and the curfew would be lifted if it continues to be so.
“When they started pelting stones, we controlled that immediately, but the rioters then resorted to torching vehicles and they set the Banbhoolpoora police station on fire,” she said.
Vandana Singh further said that the mob carried out attack against the police in phases.
“The use of petrol bombs is a cause of concern. We will investigate how they arranged petrol bombs in such large numbers,” she said, adding that few suspects have been identified and action would be taken against them.
The District Magistrate further said that many of the police personnel who were injured have been discharged.
(With inputs from Piyush Mishra)