Haldwani Violence: Raids On To Nab Key Accused; Uttarakhand CM Dhami Vows Stick Action Against Culprits

Days after the riots in the Banbhoolpura area of Uttarakhand’s Haldwani, raids are underway at several areas in Delhi in search of key accused Abdul Malik, who has been absconding since the incident. Police have meanwhile arrested Malik’s son and Samajwadi Party leader Matin Siddiqui’s brother Javed Siddiqui, and named them as main conspirators in the case.

The Uttarakhand government has also sought more central forces for deployment in Haldwani where violence erupted on February 8 after the demolition drive at the site of a mosque and madrasa, allegedly built on Nazool land, killed five and injured many more.

Officials said four companies — containing about 100 personnel each — of the Central Paramilitary Forces have been sought from the Home Ministry to maintain law and order in the Banbhoolpura area, the epicentre of the mob violence.

The requisition was sent to the Centre by Chief Secretary Radha Raturi.

Dhami Vows Stick Action Against Culprits

Speaking to the media at Lohaghat in Champawat district, Uttarakhand CM Pushkar Singh Dhami said, “In Haldwani, miscreants misbehaved with women soldiers and media personnel. They tried to burn them alive. The essence of Devbhoomi will not be allowed to deteriorate. Strict action will be taken against the miscreants.”

Magisterial Probe Ordered

On Saturday, a magisterial probe was ordered into the riots. Chief Secretary Radha Raturi in an order said that a magisterial probe will be conducted by Kumaon Commissioner Deepak Rawat, who will submit his report to the government in 15 days.

Curfew Lifted from Outer Areas of Town

Furthermore, the curfew remains in force in the Banbhoopura area but has been lifted from the outer areas of the town.

Nearly 1,100 security personnel are already deployed in the town. Shops are still shut in Banbhoolpura and the roads are deserted.

Internet services also continue to be suspended in the area to prevent rumour-mongering through social media platforms. Six rioters were killed while 60 people were injured in Thursday’s violence, officials said.

3 FIRs, 5 Arrests

So far, three FIRs have been registered against 5,000 unidentified persons, and five persons arrested in connection with the violence.

Police have named Abdul Malik–the man who owns Malik Ka Bagicha land– his unnamed son and SP leader Matin Siddiqui’s brother Javed Siddiqui as main conspirators in the case.

According to the police, those arrested are Mehboob Alam, Zishan Parvez, Arshad Ahmed, Javed Siddiqui and Aslam Chaudhary.

“The police have begun a search for an accused named Abdul Malik who had built the now razed illegal structure and opposed its demolition most strongly,” the Nainital Senior Superintendent of Police Prahlad Meena said.

CCTV footage and video clips of the incidents of Thursday collected from different sources are being analysed to identify the rioters, the police said.

The arson, vandalism and attack on the police personnel in Haldwani was part of a conspiracy, the SSP said.

Six rioters were killed while 60 people were injured in Thursday’s violence. About the people killed in the violence, the SSP said no one died in the police firing and a post-mortem will clarify the circumstances of their death. He said the police had fired following magisterial orders to disperse the mob.

“No one died in the firing as we had searched the entire area after the firing and found no bodies. The bodies were found the next day in hospitals. Post-mortem and forensic examination reports will clarify the circumstances that led to their death,” he said.

What Is Nazool Land?

Nazool land is government-owned property, but often it is not directly administered as state property. Such property is generally allotted to any entity on lease for a fixed period–between 15 and 99 years–by the state.

In case the lease, after the term expires, the government is free to either renew the lease or cancel it — taking back Nazool land.

Nazool land is generally used for public purposes like building schools, hospitals, and Gram Panchayat buildings.

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