The curfew was imposed and the administration issued shoot-at-sight orders after stone-pelting incidents, torching of vehicles and a mob surrounded the local police station following the anti-encroachment drive.
A day after the Uttarakhand assembly passed the Uniform Civil Code bill, two people were killed when a mob attacked the police and anti encroachment team of the municipal corporation which had gone to remove an illegal madarsa and a mosque on government land in Haldwani town of Nainital.
Nainital DM Vandana Singh said the mob tried to burn policemen alive. The district administration imposed curfew and issued shoot at sight orders against rioters.
The incident took place on Thursday late evening when an anti-encroachment squad of Haldwani municipal corporation escorted by the police, reached Malik-Ka-Bagicha area of Banbhulpura police station to dismantle an illegally built madarsa and a mosque on its land.
According to the District magistrate, the two illegal structures were brought down by the municipal team as a part of administration’s ongoing anti encroachment drive to free government lands from encroachments.
“Management of the illegal structures were served notices as per procedures. Both the buildings were sealed and encroachments in the surroundings were already vacated before bringing down the illegal madarsa. The rioting mob first pelted stones at the policemen which was well tackled by the forces. The mob then used petrol bombs. Even that was brought under control by the police. The unruly mob then surrounded nearby Banbhulpura Police Station and set it afire to suffocate and kill the officials and staff present inside.
”They also fired at the police station, torched several vehicles outside and vandalised properties on the streets. This made the police use fire power in an attempt to take control of the police station without any provocation” said Nainital DM on Friday.
According to Singh, a mob of attackers entered the neighbouring Gandhinagar colony and tried to terrorise people there. ”However, the situation was immediately brought under control and attempts to spread violence in other parts of the town were foiled. Curfew was imposed in the city to maintain law and order.
“Two people have died and three are critically injured in the mob attack and police action. Four people have been arrested for inciting the mob while several others are being searched. Cases for rioting and arsoning will be registered against 14-15 identified persons who incited violence. No guilty will be spared,” she asserted.
Bodies of the deceased were being identified while those injured were undergoing treatment in the hospital, said Nainital SP, Prahlad Meena.
Apart from this, police informed that nearly 250 policemen and people were also injured in the violence. Several media persons were chased and attacked by the mob as they tried to click pictures of the rioters.
Meanwhile, the Nainital District administration has suspended all internet services in Haldwani and other nearby areas in order to stop fake news and rumours regarding the Haldwani incident in social media.