Friday, March 1, 2024

In violence-hit Madhya Pradesh town, Muslims served backdated notices for demolition

The Dhar administration in Kukshi, Madhya Pradesh, issued notices to seven Muslim families on Sunday, October 01, instructing them to provide “documents related to their properties” and “permission for construction” within 24 hours.

The notices, dated September 29, were affixed to the houses on October 1. They also state, “Failure to present property documents will result in the demolition of the houses, classifying them as illegal constructions by the Dhar administration.”

Shops belonging to Muslims were set on fire, looted and vehicles torched by the Hindutva groups during Ganapati Visarjan processions in Kukshi on Thursday, September 27. Following the violence, BJP leaders are pressuring the administration to bulldoze the homes of Muslims alleging that they threw stones at the processions.

The copy of the notice in possession of Maktoob also specifies that the recipients are responsible for this themselves.

Residents allege that the administration posted the notices outside the houses and shops under pressure from Bharatiya Janata Party leaders, “similar to what happened in Khargone.”

Ayaz Khan, a resident of Kukshi who owns a clothing shop on Subhash Marg, ward number 2, where the Ganpathi Visarjan violence occurred, discovered a notice posted outside his shop. The notice requested the shop owner, his mother Shakila Bi, to provide property documents within 24 hours.

Khan told Maktoob, “This shop, which is a showroom in the area, was closed when Hindutva groups carried out arson and attacked the shops. I saw the notice in the morning when I went to open the shop, and it was backdated. Nobody knows when it was posted.”

“With the assistance of a lawyer, I have submitted the relevant documents and also uploaded them to the collector’s website as instructed,” he added.

The clothing showroom, Ajooba Collection, is the sole source of income for his family of six.

Another resident, Junaid Shah, also received a notice posted outside his house addressed to his maternal grandfather Nazar. Shah, who has been residing in his maternal grandfather’s house for the past 15 years, was present at the site of the arson.

He suspects, “My presence there might be the reason for this action. Our construction is legal, and we have the necessary documents, which we will submit on time.”

“This is our house, and nothing will happen if a proper inquiry is conducted without bias,” he added.

Madhya Pradesh government is infamous for excessively using bulldozers as an extrajudicial tool to punish people accused as “rioters” in any communal violence that takes place in the state. This “instant justice” precedent has been condemned by human rights groups and law experts.

In April 2022, Khargone district in Madhya Pradesh saw one of the worst communal violence that took the life of one Ibraish Khan and the homes of hundreds of Muslims.

Khargone administration while “investigating” bulldozed the houses and establishments mostly of Muslims to punish the “rioters” following violence during Ram Navami celebrations giving Chief Minister of MP, Shivraj Singh, the title, “Bulldozer Mama”.

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