Thursday, June 13, 2024

“Will you dig up my courtroom in the name of the probe?”: Gauhati HC on demolishing Muslim houses

The Gauhati High Court on Thursday slammed the police for demolishing the homes of the five Muslim men accused of setting fire to the Batadrava Police Station in Assam Nagaon’s district.

Using excavators and bulldozers to demolish houses “in the guise of investigation” was not provided in any criminal law, Chief Justice RM Chhaya said.

“Will you dig up my courtroom in the name of the investigation if you say something is under the court?” he asked.

He said: “It seems nobody in this country is safe.”

“Such things [bulldozing as punishment] happen only in Rohit Shetty movies,” the judge said. “Send your SP’s story to director Rohit Shetty.”

Chief Justice RM Chhaya added that even British politician Lord Thomas Babington Macaulay, who created a penal code during the colonial rule, would not have thought of what the police did without any warrant.

Bollywood films are careful enough to show actors handing notices or demolition orders before bulldozers are used, he said.

Six months ago, in May this year, the Nagaon administration in Assam demolished the homes of five Muslims who had set the Batadraba Police Station in the district on fire a day earlier over a case of custodial death of a fish trader, Safikul Islam. The district administration has also demolished Islam’s home. Residents of the Salnabari area had said the district administration along with the police razed around seven structures.

Islam was detained by the Assam Police when he was going to board a bus for Sivsagar. Islam family’s told media that the police had demanded Rs 10,000 and a duck as a bribe to release him. “We could only afford a duck, so they [police] beat him to death,” Islam’s wife had said.

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