“This is totally illegal,” said former Allahabad High Court Chief Justice Govind Mathur while commenting on the latest targeted demolition drives in Uttar Pradesh including the razing of house of prominent Muslim activists Javed Mohamamd and Afreen Fatima in Allahabad.
He was speaking to Indian Express.
“Even if you assume for a moment that the construction was illegal, which by the way is how crores of Indians live, it is impermissible that you demolish a house on a Sunday when the residents are in custody,” Mathur said.
“It is not a technical issue but a question of rule of law,” Mathur added.
Mathur was the judge who, in March 2020, took suo motu notice of the Lucknow administration’s much-criticized decision to plaster “name and shame” posters of those accused in the antti-CAA protests. He held that the government’s move was held unlawful and violated the right to privacy of the accused.
Opposition leaders former Uttar Pradesh CM Akhilesh Yadav, RLD chief Jayant Chaudhary, AIMIM supremo Asaduddin Owaisi MP, senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor MP and Indian Union Muslim League MLA MK Muneer took to Twitter to express their anger over Yogi Adityanath government’s targeted demolition drive.
Akhilesh Yadav said that while those whose comments led to the unrest in the country and international scrutiny are receiving full security, peaceful protesters are having their houses razed down without a probe.
“It is not allowed by our culture, neither religion, nor legislation, nor our constitution,” said Yadav.
His tweet in Hindi reads: “In what world is it justice that the people due to whom the situation in the country has worsened, against whom there were strong reactions from around the world, are under full security while the peaceful protesters are being punished without legal investigation with bulldozers. It is not allowed by our culture, neither religion, nor legislation, nor our constitution.”
Hours after the demolition, Uttar Pradesh Police said Javed, national leader of the Welfare Party of India is the mastermind of the protests against derogatory comments on prophet Muhammed that rocked Allahabad on 10 June.
On Saturday, Afreen Fatima, a prominent Muslim student activist said to Maktoob that her father Javed Mohammad, mother Parveen Fatima, and younger sister Sumaiya Fatima were illegally picked up by cops during a midnight raid. In a video message shared with Maktoob, Afreen said she and other family members were unable to find out their whereabouts for many hours. The cops came without a warrant or official letter, she said.
“Most valuable is our home,” said Afreen Fatima, who was informed on Saturday night that the civic body of Uttar Pradesh’s Prayagraj has put a notice on her house, asking her family to vacate the house for demolition on Sunday morning.
The notice that claims the house is an illegal construction states that “notice was sent to the family on the 10th of May and a hearing was to take place on the 24th of May. However, no response was given from the family.”
But Fatima told Maktoob that no notice was given to her family members in the past and it was part of the infamous “bulldozer politics”.
On Saturday, Mrityunjay Kumar, the media advisor to the Chief Minister of UP, in a tweet said, “remember, every Friday is followed by a Saturday” and posted a photo of a bulldozer demolishing a building.