By Ghazala Ahmad

The situation in Haldwani town of Uttarakhand’s Nainital district remained tense on February 9, with a significant deployment of police and paramilitary forces and multiple buffer zones established on every nook and corner.

What started as a demolition drive by the Haldwani Municipal Corporation on 8 February, Thursday of an “illegal Madrasa and mosque” snowballed into a full-fledged communal flare-up against the Muslim community resulting in the death of 5 Muslims including a minor and a father-son duo while 3 are critical.

The 5 killed Muslims are identified as Zahid aka Johnny (45) his son Anas (16), residents of Ghafoor Basti, Shahbaan (23) from Banbhoolpura, Faheem (30) of Indiranagar and Salman (30) of ward number 16.

More than 60 others are said to be severely injured which also includes police personnel during the violence.

However, Vandana Singh, District Magistrate of Haldwani on Friday said that the mob attempted to burn the police personnel, alive who were trapped inside the police station, media reports claim.

The city has been placed under strict curfew, with shoot-at-sight orders issued against protesters since violence erupted and internet services completely shut down.

A Muslim shop owner in the area, who was hit by the rubber bullet fired by the police while trying to save the women protestors requesting anonymity told Maktoob, “Police were brutally beating women with lathis, misbehaving with us, throwing Islamophobia slurs like “katwe and mulle”.”

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