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Uttarakhand violence: 6 dead after bulldozing of mosque before HC’s final ruling

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Uttarakhand violence: 6 dead after bulldozing of mosque before HC’s final ruling
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Days after the Delhi Development Authority demolished a 600-year-old madrasa and mosque while the matter was in court, a similar incident of madrasa and mosque demolition by the administration in Uttarakhand’s Haldwani triggered violence in which six people reportedly died and several police personnel, along with a journalist, were injured, PTI reported.

The turmoil unfolded on Thursday during a demolition drive conducted by the administration in the Banbhoolpura area, where a mosque and a madrasa allegedly stood on Nazool land. Critics argue that administrative bodies in BJP-ruled states are relatively insensitive when dealing with religiously sensitive issues, often disregarding court orders.

The incident escalated as stones were hurled, cars were set ablaze, and a police station found itself besieged. Responding to the chaos, Chief Minister Pushkar Dhami issued shoot-on-sight orders. The clash occurred after a series of demolition drives over the past 15-20 days aimed at clearing Nagar Nigam properties and easing traffic congestion.

Nainital District Magistrate Vandana Singh clarified that the demolition drive was not targeted at a specific property but was part of a broader initiative. Notices were served to all affected parties, allowing them a chance to present their case. According to Singh, the mosque and madrasa structures were vacated, and notices were posted for encroachment removal within three days.

Senior Superintendent of Police Prahlad Narayan Meena emphasized that the police used force only to ensure safety in response to the mob challenging the state. He confirmed two deaths and injuries among the police force, attributing them to the mob's attempts to confront law enforcement.

State ADG Law & Order, A P Anshuman, initially reported four deaths and over 100 injured policemen. However, the confusion was later clarified by the DM, who confirmed two deaths and attributed the discrepancy to information collected from different hospitals.

Local councillor Shakeel Ahmad revealed that the High Court had not yet reached a final decision on removing the encroachments. Tensions had been building since January 30, when authorities issued an order to demolish the structures. Despite talks between religious and political leaders and authorities, bulldozers reportedly arrived on Thursday without prior notice.

Ziyauddin Qureshi, Lok Sabha in-charge of the BJP's minority cell in Uttarakhand, stated that the mosque was two decades old. The BJP's minority cell had previously urged Chief Minister Dhami not to demolish the madrasa and mosque.

This incident comes on the heels of last year's protests in Banbhoolpura when the High Court ordered the eviction of 50,000 people, citing illegal occupation of railway land. The Supreme Court intervened, staying the eviction order and preventing the displacement of thousands within a week.

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TAGS:BJPUttarakhand violenceBulldozing Mosque
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