Four days after the violence in Uttarakhand’s Haldwani claimed six lives and injured 60 others, over 300 Muslim families have migrated from the Banbhoolpoora area to safer zones.
Several families were seen walking on roads with their luggage due to a lack of transportation facilities with a curfew in place. Restrictions were imposed in the area where violence broke out on February 8 after authorities razed an ‘illegal’ mosque and madrasa during an anti-encroachment drive in Banbhoolpoora.
In the wake of the violence, massive search operations are still being carried out by the police. So far, the police have arrested 30 people in connection with the violence and many are still on the radar.
The Uttarakhand Police have also recovered weapons from the possession of the arrested accused.
The Nainital district administration, under which Haldwani falls, has now relaxed curfew in many parts of Haldwani, but the Banbhoolpoora area remains under an intense curfew.
People have been asked strictly to stay indoors or else actions will be taken according to law. Internet services have been restored in many parts of Haldwani, barring areas where curfew is still in place.
As more Muslim families are planning to flee, the district administration has now sealed all the entry and exit points of Banbhoolpoora. Sources said the decision to seal the area had been taken by the police because the investigators felt that rioters who were involved in the violence could also flee.
On Sunday, a delegation of Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind visited Haldwani and held a meeting with the Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) wherein they apprised the district administration of their demands. The meeting went on for more than one hour.
After meeting with the SDM, Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind General Secretary Abdul Raziq said the decision to raze the mosque was taken by the administration in haste, which led to tensions and violence in the area.
“We came here to appeal for peace in the area. We have requested the SDM to ensure that actions are not taken against innocent people. It has happened because the demolition drive was carried out suddenly,” Raziq said.
“The administration should have waited for the court’s orders. Neither were there demolition orders nor orders by the court to put on hold the demolition. We want an answer as to why the action was taken in haste?” he added.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami announced that a police station will be built at the same location where the mosque and madrasa were demolished.