Saturday, December 9, 2023

“Buildings belonging to particular community brought down as exercise of ethnic cleansing?” asks HC on Nuh demolitions

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Photo: Shaheen Abdulla/Maktoob

While staying the demolition drive carried out by the Haryana authorities in violence-hit Nuh and Gurugram, the Punjab & Haryana High Court observed that whether the buildings belonging to a particular community in Nuh and Gurgaon are being brought down by the authorities under the guise of law and order problem and an exercise of “ethnic cleansing is being conducted by the State.”

“The issue also arises whether the buildings belonging to a particular community are being brought down under the guise of law and order problem and an exercise of ethnic cleansing is being conducted by the State,” said the division bench of Justice G.S Sandhawalia and Justice Harpreet Kaur Jeewan.

The HC further stated that “State of Haryana is using force and is demolishing buildings on account of the fact that some riots have occurred in Gurugram and Nuh.”

The authorities demolished hundreds of houses, shops and other structures of Muslims in the district. The houses belonged to Muslim workers and the poor, and they were demolished on the same day notices were served.

“Apparently, without any demolition orders and notices, the law and order problem is being used as a ruse to bring down buildings without following the procedure established by law”, the HC observed.

The HC took suo motu cognizance of news paper reports regarding the ongoing demolition drive in Nuh, Gurgaon which followed the violence.

While noting that news reports also say that the Haryana’s Home Minister himself has said that bulldozer are part of illaj (treatment) since the Government is probing violence, the HC remarked that, “power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely,” Live Law reported.

The demolitions come after the Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar had indicated that bulldozer action will be taken in Haryana on the lines of Yogi Adityanath’s Uttar Pradesh. Haryana Home Minister Anil Vij also said “bulldozers too will be used, if need be”.

The HC said: “We are of the considered opinion that the Constitution of India protects the citizens of this country and no demolitions as such can be done without following the procedure prescribed in law.”

“If any such demolition is to be carried out today, it should be stopped if the procedure is not followed as per law,” it added.

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