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Uttarakhand – After Haldwani violence, govt to table Bill to pay for damages caused by ‘rioters’

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The Pushkar Singh Dhami-led government in Uttarakhand had decided to introduce a Bill for the recovery of the cost of any damage incurred to public or private property during protests from those responsible for the disturbances. This comes after the violence was unleashed by a radical mob in Haldwani.

It is pertinent to mention that the Uttarakhand Public and Private Property Damage Recovery Bill is likely to be introduced in the state Assembly during the Budget session that starts on Monday.

The Yogi Adityanath govt in UP passed a similar bill in 2020. Haryana also followed suit and Uttarakhand will be the third state to enact such a law.

Under the proposed law, individuals causing harm during protests or strikes would be “financially responsible for the losses”. A tribunal, to be led by a former judge, will determine compensation amounts and issue recovery notices.

The move follows the violence in Nainital district’s Haldwani on February 8, which was triggered by an anti-encroachment drive that led to the demolition of a mosque and a madrasa in the Banbhoolpura area. Apart from Haldwani, Dehradun and Haridwar districts have also seen violent protests against anti-encroachment measures in the last few years.

Angered by the demolition of the structures, which authorities said stood on government land, people resorted to pelting stones and burning cars, and the local police station was surrounded by a mob. Chief Minister Pushkar Dhami had later announced that the cost of damaged property would be recovered by those involved in the violence.

The district administration also attached the property of several accused. Notably, Abdul Mallik, the mastermind of the Haldwani violence on Feb 8, was arrested in Delhi on Saturday. This came after the district administration began seizing his assets to recover Rs 2.4 crore for damages to public property.

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