Nuh demolition drive: Haryana govt razed 1, 208 structures, mostly owned by Muslims in 11 towns, hamlets in districttext_fields
Nuh: The Haryana government in a span of five days, razed a total of 1,208 structures in 11 towns and hamlets in the district, predominantly owned by Muslims, according to the statistics constituting the demolition activities carried out, following communal violence in the region in which six people were killed and 88 injured.
The numbers, separately confirmed by two people with direct knowledge of the matter- with a random sampling cross-checked by journalists through field visits- would have been higher if the Punjab and Haryana High Court had not intervened on August 7, reports The Hindustan Times.
The demolished properties were found to be owned by Muslims. The court, observing the unilateral nature of the demolitions, questioned whether the state's actions bordered on "ethnic cleansing" before staying them.
As per official data, properties were demolished across the cities and villages of Nuh, Nalhar, Punhana, Tauru, Nangal Mubarakpur, Shahpur, Aagon, Adbar Chowk, Nalhar Road, Tiranga Chowk and Nagina. It was among the largest demolitions the region has seen so far.
Jawahar Yadav, officer on special duty (OSD) to Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar, said that officials from the town and country planning department, Haryana Shahari Vikas Pradhikaran (HSVP), police department, forest department and local panchayats were involved in identifying the properties that needed to be demolished, reports The Hindustan Times.
“A meeting was held on August 1 and records were scanned by each official from their areas and based on the statements of the suspects involved in the violence, the drive was carried out. The houses razed were of all those who were either arrested or identified or were illegal establishments,” he said.
Yadav said they had taken legal opinions and checked all the records before they started the drive to ensure all rules were followed. He insisted that a notice was given on June 30, although this would mean that this was done before the committee he spoke of, met on August 1.
According to Nuh district commissioner Dhirendra Khadgata, there were valid reasons to carry out the demolition drive - illegal encroachments on government land; developments on forest land; buildings on HSVP land; houses without occupation certificates; structures built without any change in land-use on agricultural land; properties without approved building plans; or buildings used by rioters to throw stones and petrol bombs at the Hindu religious procession on July 31.
People whose properties were demolished were not given any notice by the administration or even informed before the drive began.
Nuh’s Congress MLA Chaudhary Aftab Ahmed said all those who have been targeted are Muslims and that some had papers for their property. “The way the Haryana government has targeted people from one community is very unfair. More than 500 people have become homeless and those who had all the documents related to their land and paid property tax annually. The allegations that they were constructed in forest or HSVP land is baseless ,” he said.
The demolitions, he claimed, were a threat to “one section of society”. In a related development, on Tuesday, 50 Haryana panchayats issued letters barring the entry of Muslim traders.
The affected families have demanded evidence from the police of their involvement in the Nuh violence.
A total of 188 people have been arrested and 57 FIRs have been registered in Nuh so far in connection with July 31 violence. Combing exercises have been conducted in 20 villages such as Mewli, Shikarpur, Jalalpur and Singar.