Uttarakhand violence: Four fatalities reported over illegal madrasa demolition in Haldwani

The violence on Thursday has prompted authorities to impose curfew and issue shoot-at-sight orders against rioters in the city.

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Uttarakhand violence: The city of Haldwani erupted in violence on Thursday following the demolition of an illegal madrasa and adjoining mosque. The confrontations have left 4 dead and over 250 injured, prompting authorities to impose curfew and suspend internet services.

The demolitions were carried out by government officials accompanied by a heavy police presence, acting on court orders that deemed the religious structures encroaching on government land. However, the move was met with fierce resistance from local residents when bulldozers razed the buildings.

An angry mob pelted stones at police and administration officials, injuring over 50 policemen as well as municipal workers and journalists at the site. The mob also torched vehicles outside the police station as the law and order situation rapidly deteriorated. Police retaliated with tear gas but were unable to control the swelling crowds.

"The demolitions were completed in compliance with court orders," said Senior Superintendent of Police Prahlad Meena. However, locals including women took to the streets in protest as the structures were razed.

In the ensuing clashes, rioters broke barricades, hurled stones, and set fire to over 20 motorcycles and a police bus. Additional forces have now been deployed to contain the unrest.

Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami called the stone-pelting mobs "anti-social elements" and said additional police and central forces were being sent to restore order. He appealed for calm from the public.

The city administration said the madrasa and mosque were erected illegally on encroached land, despite earlier seizure of 3 acres nearby by the civic body. As a precaution, curfew has been imposed across Haldwani, with schools and shops shut.

The situation remains tense, with 4 dead and hundreds injured. The Chief Minister has directed officials to deal strictly with rioters, even allowing shoot-at-sight orders against violent mobs. The injured are being treated at local hospitals.