Six Muslims were killed after violence hit Uttarakhand’s Haldwani. Muslims of the state were protesting after the demolition of a Madrasa and mosque took place by the authorities yesterday at Haldwani’s Madarsa titled Malik ke Bagiche. No prior notice was given to the people, as per reports the authorities even refused to show local residents’ requests to show demolition notices.
Harrowing videos have emerged of police beating protesting Muslims, including Muslim women. Multiple women and men were injured after the police fired rubber bullets and even tear gas. The incident unfolded just hours after Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami issued shoot on sight orders after meeting with senior officials yesterday.
Police and municipal workers who were conducting the demolition process also faced injuries during the clashes and some people reportedly also set police vehicles to fire.
Reports have emerged of Hindu mobs allegedly targeting Muslim-owned properties on the streets yesterday night despite a curfew, according to The Observer Post. Several anti-Muslim slogans were also spoken, according to the report. Slogans such as “Katu*# (a slur against Muslims), we will rape your sisters,” was also heard.
According to Maktoob Media, several journalists and residents of the area were detained and an internet ban was imposed.
Meanwhile, social media appears to be rife with posts about Muslims in a derogatory manner. Many claims were seen being made about demographic conspiracies against Muslims about population ‘explosion’.
Hindutva inclined writer Anand Ranganathan too commented on the issue, highlighting how ‘demography’ is the ‘destiny’.
This is not Baghdad or Kabul – this is a police station being burnt to the ground by a Muslim mob in Haldwani, India, in response to a court order to remove an illegal Madrasa. More than 60 policemen have been seriously injured.
Demography is destiny. pic.twitter.com/AOhiUviDVz
— Anand Ranganathan (@ARanganathan72) February 9, 2024
Similarly, another user, Lukky Vaishnav posted, making demographic claims.
— Lukky Vaishnav (@LukkyVaishnav) February 8, 2024
Vaishnav’s comments section is filled with similar comments by seemingly Hindutva inclined accounts talking about an alleged conspiracy of Muslims to ‘take over’ the Hindu population in the state.
Meanwhile, Sumit Hridayesh an MLA from Haldwani from the Indian National Congress, has stated that the officials acted in a “jaldbaazi’ and did not take the local residents of the area, the Maulanas of the Madarsa into ‘confidence’. “You cannot reach there without any information. Today is a black day. Haldwani has always been a harmonious peace.”
— Sumit Hridayesh (@SumitHridayesh) February 8, 2024
Recently, an Amnesty International report emerged that demolitions of private properties are being used as a punitive measure against India’s Muslims. It also stated that India’s provisions for demolitions do not meet international standards for human rights.
As per a report of Scroll, Nainital District Magistrate Vandana Singh provided that the demolition had been carried out as per the High Court order. The District Magistrate provided that the demolition was not an “isolated activity and was not targeted at any particular property”.
She further stated that “Everyone was given notice and time for hearing. Some did approach the High Court. Some were given time while some were not given time.”
As per local councillor Shakeel Ahmad, Uttarakhand High Court did not give a final decision on removing the encroachment. As provided by a report of Indian Express, Ahmad stated “The next date of hearing was February 14 and when the administration came, we requested them to stop until then. We said that we will not stop the administration from demolishing the structure if the court decision is against us. But they did not listen.”
High Court denies immediate relief
As per a report of National Herald, prior to the demolition, a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) had been moved by the Malik colony resident Safia Malik and others to the Uttarakhand High Court. the plea sought for judicial intervention in stopping the demolition of the Mosque and the madrassa. The notice given by the Haldwani Municipal Corporation to the petitioners had been challenged through the said plea.
However, in the order issued on February 8, the vacation bench of Justice Pankaj Purohit had refused to grant any relief to the petitioners, and kept the hearing of the said matter on February 14. Pursuant to this, the demolition exercise had begun.
The order of the court can be found here:
It is pertinent to highlight here that the authorities have been unclear about the High Court order that is being used to demolish the alleged “illegal” Madrassa and Mosque.