Haldwani: Two persons were killed and three critically injured in the violence that broke out over the demolition of an illegally-built madrasa and a place for offering namaz inside its premises in the town where curfew has been imposed and shoot-at-sight orders issued.
Nainital District Magistrate (DM) Vandana Singh and Senior Superintendent of Police Prahlad Meena, who held a joint press conference here on Friday, confirmed the two deaths in the violence that broke out on Thursday.
Meena said the police had to use force in self-defence.
The situation in the town is under control with curfew imposed and around 1,100 police personnel deployed there, he said.
Giving details, the DM said the structures stood on encroached government land and were demolished after a prior notice in compliance of a court order.
The demolition drive began after the Municipal corporation had taken complete legal possession of the two structures, she said.
Rioting by residents of the area began 30 minutes after the demolition of the two structures which were not registered, the DM said.
Police personnel were pelted with stones by the mob of rioters who were dispersed without using unnecessary force. They also hurled petrol bombs at the Banbhoolpura police station.
The bomb-hurling mob was also controlled by police without using much force but it had to retaliate when they came to the police station and set fire to it
Police vehicles in large numbers were torched and there were also attempts by rioters to burn police personnel alive forcing them to run to the police station for cover, she said.
As the violence escalated on Thursday, all the shops in Haldwani were closed. After the imposition of curfew, all schools from Classes 1-12 in and around the city have also been closed.
Meena had said on Thursday that the madrasa stood on an illegally encroached government land and the demolitions were carried out in the heavy presence of police and Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) personnel in compliance with a court order.
Angry residents, including women, in large numbers descended on the streets to protest the action as the demolition of the two structures began.
They were seen breaking barricades and arguing with the police personnel engaged in the demolition exercise.