News Brief

Uttarakhand HC Directs State Government To Maintain Law And Order Amid Communal Tension In Uttarkashi

Swarajya News Staff

Jun 15, 2023, 05:45 PM | Updated 05:45 PM IST

Uttarkashi Police take out a flag march in the Barkot market on 2 June. (Photo: Uttarkashi Police Uttarakhand/Twitter)
Uttarkashi Police take out a flag march in the Barkot market on 2 June. (Photo: Uttarkashi Police Uttarakhand/Twitter)

Amid communal tensions in Uttarkashi, the Nainital High Court directed the Uttarakhand government on 15 June to ensure that law and order are maintained in the state.

The court emphasised that there should be no loss of life or property of any person.

This was said by a Division Bench of Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Rakesh Thapliyalin, in response to a petition filed by the Association for Protection of Civil Rights.

The court firmly stated that it is the paramount duty of the state to maintain law, order, and peace so as to prevent any loss of life and property.

In addition, the court directed the respondents to take all necessary steps to fulfil this constitutional obligation.

The Advocate-General of Uttarakhand S N Babulkar told the court that the proposed mahapanchayat was cancelled and Section 144 was imposed in Purola town where the event was earlier called for by right-wing groups.

In response to the petitioner's plea to instruct police to register an FIR against those responsible for the communication of the mahapanchayat, including the VHP and the Bajrang Dal, among others, the court declined to do so.

The bench emphasised that the police should be the first to investigate whether a cognisable offence is committed before involving the magistrate.

"Direction by this Court would put undue influence on the concerned statutory authorities and courts,” the bench added.

In addition, the court instructed the petitioners and other concerned parties to abstain from participating in social media debates with a view to normalise the situation.

Amid the ongoing Char Dham Yatra, the police barricaded the entrance to Purola town where right-wing groups called for a mahapanchayat.

Local traders protested the action of preventing right-wing activists and religious leaders from entering the town by keeping their shops closed.

The police detained various people, including the founders of Yamunaghati Hindu Jagriti Manch and Rudrasena, respectively identified as Keshav Giri and Rakesh Tomar.

Reports of scuffles between the police and several local right-wing groups were also reported from different parts of Uttarkashi town.

The recent incident where a minor girl was allegedly abducted by both a Hindu and a Muslim youth in Uttarkashi was just the beginning of the ongoing conflict.

Following apprehension by the locals and the police, right-wing organisations such as the Bajrang Dal, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, and Bhairav Sena began protesting against the minority community, which ultimately led to a call for a mahapanchayat to be held on 15 June.

The situation was dire for the Muslim families in the area and several were forced to leave the town.

Office-bearers of the Muslim Seva Sansthan (MSS) have called for their own mahapanchayat in the state capital of Dehradun on 18 June.

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