The authorities demolished scores of houses, shops and other structures of Muslims in Haryana’s Nuh district, days after the violence broke out in the state killing six people, including two home guards and a mosque imam.
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”.
Nuh Deputy Commissioner Prashant Panwar and Superintendent of Police Varun Singla in a press conference said that the structures were razed on “encroached land” in Nuh district.
Officials of the Forest Department removed “encroachments” from about 5 acres of land behind the Nalhar Shiv Temple where the yatra organised by the VHP and the Bajrang Dal had begun.
The violence broke out on 31 July during the same yatra organised by the Hindutva groups.
Six acres of land belonging to the Forest Department were also cleared in Punhana while an acre was cleared in the Dhobi Ghat area of Nagina municipality area, Panwar said in the press conference. Some temporary sheds were also demolished in Nangal Mubarakpur, according to him.
“I was given the notice around 4 pm today when I was getting ready to leave for work. They said they would demolish my home in two days, but half an hour later, a bulldozer came. The forest department officer asked me to get my things out,” Indian Express quotes Aas Mohammad, a 56 year old Muslim man who works as a hospital guard, as saying.
He said to the newspaper hat he had built the house 24 years ago.
“We were not home when two notices were stuck on our doors. Since we can’t read English, we went to a nearby house and they said the order stated that houses will be demolished in seven days,” said 16-year-old Barfeena to Indian Express.
Another Muslim woman, Khurshidan, said: “Around 3 pm, when I was making roti, they (officials) came with the bulldozer. They asked us to vacate the place and I couldn’t even say anything. While they were demolishing it, I requested them with folded hands not to raze it.”
Though Nuh officials denied link between demolitions and violence, Sub Divisional Magistrate (SDM) Ashwani Kumar said says structures razed of ‘some’ connected to violence.
“Illegal construction was removed from 2.6 acres of land in front of Nalhar Medical College. More than 45 illegal constructions were demolished around the medical college. Around 13-15 temporary illegal structures were also demolished. Notices were already given to the owners of the demolished structures. The owners of some structures were also involved in the violence during the Braj Mandal religious yatra,” said SDM Kumar, Indian Express reported.
In another demolition drive, Haryana government Friday evening razed 250 shanties of Muslims living in Tauru, about 20 km away from violence-hit Nuh, for “encroaching on government land.”
The government officials alleged that Migrants from Assam had set up shanties on Haryana Urban Authority land in ward number one along Mohammadpur road of Tauru town in Nuh district.