Video Editors: Mohd Irshad Alam, Kriti Saxena
Several days after violence gripped Haldwani post the demolition of a mazar and madarsa in the area, many residents alleged a crackdown by the police in their homes while their family members "were beaten brutally."
Locals alleged that around 10-10:30 PM on the night of 10 February, police raided their homes and beat their family members. This took place two days after a Mariyam mosque and Malik Ke Bagiche Ka madarsa were razed to the ground.
Shama Parveen, who works as a mid-day meal worker at a local government school told The Quint, "I told the police, 'we were not even there and haven't done anything. Why are you doing this?' Three policemen entered the house, they were breaking the walls and kicking it."
Parveen alleged that the police threw the cot on the ground and checked underneath their beds.
"They started beating my husband and my 12-years-old daughter kept screaming, 'Don't hit my father.' But still, they beat him. So much so that they fractured his leg. At Sushila Tiwari Hospital too, they told us to take him elsewhere. We're poor, where do we go?"Shama Parveen to The Quint
Ruksana*'s husband Raheem* was also picked up the same evening. She stated that the police blamed that they were responsible for the stone-pelting that happened on 8 February, however, they were not even present at the spot.
"They were a lot of policemen, they damaged the cars and tempos outside. My daughter and I were reading The Quran," remarked Ruksana.
She continued, "They called my husband outside. Threw the beddings outside and beat him so much, his leg was broken. They just left him on the road. They hit us too."
'Brother Fighting For His Life in ICU'
While the police said that at least six were killed in the violence, some locals who were shot at, are being treated in hospitals.
One of them is Mohammad Shahnawaz, 30, a tailor from Haldwani.
"In the firing, he got shot in the chest and it went through him. The other rubber bullet was on his shoulder which has broken. Now, he's a in serious condition and it has been over 3 days in the ICU," his brother Mohd Sarfaraz told The Quint.
Sarfaraz alleged that the violence of 8 February was orchestrated by some miscreants in Gandhi Nagar in Banbhoolpura. He added that Muslims have been framed in the incident and truth will come out after the investigation is complete.
"For example, if there 100 men there, out of them 20 might be on ground, 80 were at work. So then how did such a crowd turn up suddenly? I don't know myself. That day, it was time for Roza too. Because next day, we observe Shab-e-Miraj," said Sarfaraz.
'They Broke My Son's Head Too'
In another case, on 10 February, police reportedly arrested Ayesha's 23 years-old son, Arsalaan who works in furniture business.
Ayesha alleged that his son was beaten so much that "they broke his head as well."
"Since 4 days, we have been hungry. Someone is either giving us tea, or sharing food with us. Their father is also not well so situation is really bad at home. We're locked in our house because of fear, what to do? just leave?" said Ayesha. A curfew is still imposed in the area.
The Quint has reached out to SSP Meena and his PRO Dinesh Joshi, a response will added once received.
Uttarakhand director general of police Abhinav Kumar though, told Scroll that they "have no intention of acting against anyone without evidence.”
In a similar case, Mohammad Aziz, 38, showing that his TV was also broken by the police said, "We were in our homes, they barged in and started destroying everything. They beat my wife and children also, there was a huge crowd of them. No female officers. They were trying to to take away the children as well."
Meanwhile another local, Saba* shaken since the police crackdown remains worried for the safety of her family.
"Why are only we punished? Why only Muslims? We are also from this country, born and raised in this country. Then why does this happen?" said Saba*.
The violence and the police crackdown has brought limelight upon several local residents allegedly leaving their homes in the area.
The Quint also accessed the Court's order which had stated that another hearing would be held on 14 February in the madarsa and mazar demolition case. However, the demolition took place 6 days prior to the hearing date.
Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami said on 12 February that "a police station will be built on the land" where a mosque and a madrasa were demolished in Uttarakhand’s Haldwani, said
Uttarakhand High Court lawyer Ahrar Baig also observed that earlier, Nagar Nigam had issued a notice to vacate the area on the basis of Nazul policy of 2009 and 2021.
"On 3 January, the Nagar Nigam authorities wanted to start the demolition procedure. Instead of demolishing it, they sealed the place and locked the madarsa and namaz area."
The authorities had then filed a petition in the High Court. Then it was heard on the 8 February and 14 February was fixed for next hearing. "But no order was given out in the case," he added.
(*Names changed to protect identity)