States & UTs

    'Strict Action To Be Taken; Issue Should Not Be Politicised': MoS Ajay Bhatt On Haldwani Violence

    Inam Ansari
    February12/ 2024
    Last Updated:

    MoS Ajay Bhatt On Haldwani Violence

    Nanital: Coming out in opposition against the violence in Haldwani during a demolition drive in Haldwani on February 8, Union Minister of State for Defence, Ajay Bhatt, on Sunday said strict action will be taken against those found guilty.
    Speaking to ANI on Sunday, the minister, however, cautioned against politicisation of the issue.
    "A criminal is a criminal and has no religion. What happened was wrong. The guilty will not be spared and will receive exemplary punishment. We must ensure that such incidents don't happen again," he said. As many as 30 people have been arrested, including 25 in the last 24 hours, in connection with Thursday's violence in the Haldwani city of Nainital. The clashes and violence left five people dead and dozens injured, the police said on Sunday.
    Several countrymade weapons and live rounds were recovered from those arrested, police said.
    The state government has asked the Centre for four additional companies of paramilitary forces to be deployed in the district.
    Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Nainital Senior Superintendent of Police, Prahlad Narayan Meena, said, "In connection with the three FIRs registered, we have arrested 25 people in the last 24 hours. They include 12 people for the attack on the police station, six for setting vehicles ablaze outside the police station, and seven in connection to the FIR registered on the complaint of Nagar Nigam for violence during the anti-encroachment drive."
    He said all the arrests in connection with the Haldwani violence were made within the borders of Nainital district. Meanwhile, curfew remained in place in the Banbhoolpura area, where the incident took place, and several locals were seen packing up and leaving. Violence erupted on Thursday after the administration conducted an anti-encroachment drive in Banbhoolpura.
    After stone-pelting incidents, torching of vehicles and a mob surrounding the local police station, the administration issued a shoot-at-sight order.
    Earlier, on Sunday, DGP Uttarakhand Abhinav Kumar claimed that the police personnel, who had gone to Banbhoolpura to assist an ongoing, legally sanctioned anti-encroachment drive were attacked by a mob. "The police acted in the lawful exercise of their right to self-defence in discharging their official duties. We have sufficient audio-visual evidence to this effect. It will be presented in the ongoing magisterial inquiry and criminal investigation," the DGP told ANI.
    "We intend to act without any bias in full accordance with the law," he added. \ —ANI