In a recent update on Sunday (February 11), Uttarakhand Police announced the apprehension of an additional 25 individuals connected to the recent mob violence in Haldwani’s Banbhoolpura. The authorities disclosed the recovery of 7 country-made pistols and 54 live rounds during the arrests, bringing the total number of detainees in the case to 30, with five previously in custody.
In a collaborative effort between the Nainital district police and Delhi police, Abdul Malik, the alleged orchestrator behind the turmoil that gripped Haldwani resulting in five fatalities and numerous injuries, was arrested on Sunday. Acting on preliminary evidence, law enforcement officers successfully located Malik in the national capital, where he was subsequently apprehended with the aid of Delhi police personnel.
According to authorities, Abdul Malik, proprietor of Malik Ka Bagicha, the vicinity where the unrest originated, allegedly constructed an “illegal” madrassa and mosque on Nazul land in Banphoolpura. Additionally, Malik’s son, whose identity remains undisclosed, and Javed Siddiqui, sibling of SP leader Matin Siddiqui, have both been detained in connection with the case.
“Police had detained over 60 people, including Malik’s son, for questioning due to their suspected involvement in the violence. undefinedd on questioning, he was apprehended,” the officer added.
Addressing a press conference, SSP Nainital Prahlad Narayan Meena confirmed the registration of three FIRs (case numbers 21/24, 22/24, 23/24) related to the incident. Each FIR has been assigned to an investigative team, which has commenced its work resulting in the latest arrests. Meena highlighted the recovery of firearms and government ammunition looted during the attack on the Banbhoolpura police station.
According to statements obtained by ANI, SSP Nainital elaborated on the recovery of 99 police ammunition rounds looted during the assault on February 8th, emphasising ongoing efforts to apprehend the main suspect, Abdul Malik.
The officer reassured the public of the gradual restoration of normalcy in the affected area, with traffic resuming and exams proceeding smoothly with satisfactory attendance. He mentioned the distribution of essential items by the police in Banbhoolpura and anticipated the lifting of curfews in other areas in the coming days.
Simultaneously, Uttarakhand Police released a list of the arrested rioters, underscoring their commitment to addressing the violence. The list included names such as Junaid, Mohammad Nizam, and others, who are now in custody.
In response to allegations of police misconduct, DGP Uttarakhand Abhinav Kumar vehemently denied bias, asserting that the police acted lawfully in self-defence during the incident. He promised to present evidence supporting their actions in ongoing inquiries and investigations.
The violence erupted on February 8th when civic authorities attempted to demolish an illegal madrasa in Banbhoolpura, triggering clashes with a Muslim mob. The confrontation resulted in multiple casualties and injuries among police personnel. The authorities have registered three FIRs against numerous individuals in connection with the incident.
As the situation unfolds, intellectuals and activists have voiced varying opinions, with some condemning the authorities’ actions while others support the enforcement of law and order.
This development comes after the Uttarakhand High Court’s decision not to grant relief to petitioners seeking a stay on the demolition, underscoring the legal context surrounding the events in Haldwani.