The Haldwani town, situated in the foothills of Kumaon and barely 30 kilometres from Nainital, had hit the headlines earlier also over removal of ‘encroachment’ on the government land.
Around 17 years back in 2007, clashes between the security personnel and the residents had taken place during attempts to demolish illegal structures on the Railway land in Ghafoor Basti locality in Banbhoolpura. The railway had then demolished several houses in the locality.
A few years later, the railway again identified 4600 houses in the locality as illegal encroachment and issued them notices to vacate. The encroachment, however, could not be removed.
Later, RTI activist Ravishankar Joshi filed a petition in the High Court of Uttarakhand seeking directions for removal of encroachment on the railway land. In December 2022, the HC ordered the removal of 4600 “illegal” houses.
The issue had then hogged the limelight in the national and international media. A petition was later filed in the Supreme Court against the HC order and the apex court stayed the demolition.
On Thursday, Haldwani witnessed a fresh round of violence, following the demolition of “illegally built” madrasa and mosque, in which six people were killed and hundreds others injured.