Precautionary warnings were issued prior to Haldwani violence; Here's what happened

As investigations continue, authorities pledge accountability for those involved in instigating violence.

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Courtesy: ANI

New Delhi: Days preceding the outbreak of violence in Haldwani, the Nainital Local Intelligence Unit (LIU) had issued cautionary alerts regarding the potential escalation of tensions during a planned demolition drive. The LIU reportedly forwarded a letter to the District Magistrate and the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), highlighting the risk of widespread protests among locals.

Background of the incident

The violence erupted in Haldwani following a demolition operation conducted by the administration, targeting a mosque and a madrasa situated in the Banbhoolpura area. District authorities cited that both structures were erected on Nazool land, which denotes government-owned property not officially documented in revenue records. As the situation intensified with instances of stone pelting, vehicle arson, and the besiegement of a local police station by a hostile mob, Chief Minister Pushkar Dhami authorized the use of lethal force.

Early warning signals

On February 2, the LIU dispatched a communication to local authorities, advising preemptive measures to mitigate potential unrest. Recommendations included scheduling the demolition drive for early morning hours and implementing thorough surveillance of neighboring rooftops. Despite these suggestions, the operation commenced around 4:30 pm, resulting in eyewitness accounts of projectiles hurled from elevated positions.

Ongoing investigation and response

In response to inquiries regarding the LIU report, Uttarakhand DGP Abhinav Kumar declined to offer commentary, citing the ongoing magisterial inquiry into the incident. He emphasized the need to await the inquiry's findings before making definitive statements. District officials clarified that standard precautionary measures, similar to those outlined in the LIU report, are routinely advised during anti-encroachment actions in sensitive zones.

The LIU report underscored the encroachment activities of one Abdul Malik in the Malik ka Bageecha area. Following the administration's repossession of the land on January 30 due to the absence of freehold grants, attention was drawn to the adjacent mosque and madrasa. Notices were served for the demolition of these structures if encroachments were not rectified by February 1.

As investigations continue, authorities pledge accountability for those involved in instigating violence, reaffirming their commitment to uphold the rule of law and ensure community safety amidst challenging circumstances.