By Ghazala Ahmad

Haldwani town in Uttarakhand’s Dehradun district remained under tight police and paramilitary deployment with curfew and internet suspension in place for the fourth consecutive day after it grappled with communal tensions over the demolition of Mosque and Madrasa despite the matter being contested in the court and the next hearing was scheduled for February 14.

Al least five people have been killed during the violence while the authorities are yet to confirm the actual death toll.

On Sunday, some spots in the town witnessed movement; limping back to normalcy with shops reopening for people to restock groceries after households reported running out of cooking gas on Saturday. Snapped internet services were also restored in some areas for some time but suspended again in the evening.

However, the movement is still restricted in Banbhoolpura, where the violence took place. The area was intensified with local police, Provincial Armed Constabulary and Rapid Action Force.

Additionally, Radha Raturi, Uttarakhand Chief Secretary in a letter to the Home Minister has requested more companies of Paramilitary Forces citing ‘disruption of law and order by anarchist elements during the demolition’.

A local speaking to Maktoob said, “Some households on Saturday slept without having food because they ran out of gas and they couldn’t buy anything from outside due to curfew.”

“Nobody knew in advance that there would be a curfew, we were not prepared, and people didn’t have milk and bread in homes which is basic. The curfew in some areas has been lifted, this was a little relaxing but the situation is still the same in Banbhoolpura, which is in the centre of the city. The area around the mosque has tight security”, he added.

On Saturday, police apprehended 5 individuals. Local media reported that one of them was the ‘mastermind’ behind the entire unrest that followed after the Municipal Corporation demolished the religious structure.

In the ‘search operation’ carried out by the police 30 more people were also arrested late night on Saturday and the total number of arrests has risen to 90, Amar Ujala reported.

The 5 arrested include 2 former councillors Mehboob Alam and Zeeshan, members of the Samajwadi Party, Arshad Ayyub, and Aslam Chaudhary, and Jawed Siddiqui, brother of another Samajwadi Party leader Abdul Mateen Siddiqui.

As curfew was lifted some residents left the town to avoid ‘unnecessary police action’. At the same time, some were unable to return as state-run buses to Haldwani were suspended and no trains were halting at the station.

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