Haldwani: A magisterial probe was ordered on Saturday into the February 8 riots after the demolition of an “illegal” madrassa in Haldwani, while curfew was lifted from the outer areas of town but remained in force in Banbhoolpura, the epicentre of the mob violence.
Police said they have begun a search for Abdul Malik who had built the structure.
Internet services remained suspended in the town to prevent rumours from spreading through social media platforms. Police patrolled the affected areas as streets wore a deserted look and shops and schools remained shut.
Three FIRs have been registered and five persons arrested so far in connection with the violence, Nainital Senior Superintendent of Police Prahlad Meena said at a press conference here.
“The police have begun a search for an accused named Abdul Malik who had built the now razed illegal structure and opposed its demolition most strongly,” the SSP said.
CCTV footage and video clips of the incidents of Thursday collected from different sources are being analysed to identify the rioters, the police said.
The arson, vandalism and attack on the police personnel in Haldwani was part of a conspiracy, the SSP said.
Chief Secretary Radha Raturi in an order said that a magisterial probe will be conducted by Kumaon Commissioner Deepak Rawat, who will submit his report to the government in 15 days.
The order limiting the area under curfew to Banbhoolpura was issued on Saturday by Nainital District Magistrate Vandana Singh. Shops on the outskirts of the town opened on Saturday following the partial lifting of the curfew but schools remained closed.
Six rioters were killed while 60 people were injured in Thursday’s violence, officials said.
About the people killed in the violence, the SSP said no one died in the police firing and a post-mortem will clarify the circumstances of their death.
He said the police had fired following magisterial orders to disperse the mob.
“No one died in the firing as we had searched the entire area after the firing and found no bodies. The bodies were found the next day in hospitals. Post-mortem and forensic examination reports will clarify the circumstances that led to their death,” he said.
The curfew has now been limited to the entire Banbhoolpura area, which also includes the Army Cantonment (including workshop line) Tikonia-Teenpani and the area within the peripheries of the Gaulapar bypass, the order said.
The movement of vehicles on the Nainital-Bareily motor road and commercial establishments will be free from restriction, it added.
However, only hospitals and medical shops will remain open in the areas where the curfew is in force.
“Patrolling is continuously being done in the affected areas and the situation is under control,” Additional Director General (ADG) of Police, Law and Order, A P Anshuman, who is camping in Haldwani, told PTI Videos.
Sixteen people have been named as accused in the three FIRs, the ADG said, adding that five of them have been arrested and the rest will also be held soon.
The residents of Banbhoolpura area, where the curfew is still in force, are being allowed to buy essentials from time to time, the ADG said.
The movement of trains up to Kathgodam has also been resumed, he added.
No fresh untoward incident has been reported from anywhere, the officer said.
More than 60 people were injured on Thursday after locals hurled stones and petrol bombs at municipal workers and police, forcing many police personnel to seek refuge at a police station, which the mob then set on fire.
Seven people, including a journalist, were undergoing treatment on Friday at three different hospitals. Three of them were said to be in a serious condition.