Tourist town Rishikesh on the edge, find out why

Three makeshift kiosks were set ablaze by unidentified persons which led to communal tension in the town around noon today and imposition of prohibitory orders in some areas of Doiwala and Rishikesh, police said.

In this case, two people namely Pramod Lodhi Rajput and Sumit Saxena of Kankhal,  were arrested on Saturday evening, were arrested on Saturday evening. Earlier, the district administration deployed police and provincial armed constabulary personnel at Kankhal and other sensitive pockets. Section 144 of CrPC was also imposed in the entire city.

The communal tension that affected the Raiwala-Rishikesh belt for past three days reached Haridwar on Friday night as a group of unidentified people pillaged shops of some traders at the Kankhal market.

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Haridwar last witnessed such tensed situations in June 2016 when Khanpur legislator Kunwar Pranab Singh’s relative evicted a tenant at Landaura market. Later, a mob torched up vehicles and pelted stones, prompting the police to enforce discipline through lathi charge.

In the Kankhal incident, a group of masked people armed with hockey sticks and cricket bats arrived on two-wheelers. The group raised slogans and vandalised dozen-odd properties of shopkeepers and vendors. The bystanders, who tried to intervene were also attacked by the goons. The group looted cash and two mobile phones from the targeted shops, the police said.

Five traders who were trying to close their shops were attacked and injured near Bengali Mod and Purushottam Vihar in Kankhal, barely 1 km away from the Kankhal police station.

“I came outside on seeing bike-borne people shouting slogans against our community. They asked our names and targeted only those traders who belonged to our community,” the barber said.

Milk vendor who was also beaten up at Purushottam Vihar,  said he alerted his family at the Bairagi camp after the unidentified men threatened him of taking revenge.

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A case was then registered against 15 unidentified people at the Kankhal police station. Superintendent of police, city, Mamta Vohra said her personnel went through CCTV footage and took accounts of the targeted traders and locals to gather details of the attackers.

“The situation is now under control after the police was deployed. We appreciate the harmony that exists among the people as the situation didn’t aggravate despite this incident,” Kankhal circle officer JP Juyal said.

Kankhal sweet shop traders union representative Manoj Khanna condemned the incident and urged traders to keep their shops open for sending a strong message to the ‘anti-social elements’. In the afternoon, the shop owners of all religious beliefs were seen repairing the damages done to the shops.

“The bonhomie that exists between the two communities in Haridwar is an example for all. During the Kanwar fair, Muslims organise refreshment camps for Shiva devotees while Hindus host iftars during Eid. That normalcy returned in Kankhal market proves this aspect,” former municipal chairperson Pradeep Chaudhary asserted.

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