SC notice to UP on bulldozer action

Stating that authorities should strictly follow due procedure under the law, the Supreme Court on Thursday sought replies from the Uttar Pradesh government and its authorities within three days on the alleged illegal use of bulldozers for “retaliatory demolition” of houses of riot-accused.

Jamiat-Ulama-I-Hind & others sought directions to UP authorities to ensure that no further demolitions of properties are carried out in State without following due process.

The Supreme Court has requested a response from the Prayagraj and Kanpur governments and municipal officials within three days, and the case will be heard next week.

The SC observed that it can’t stay demolitions but the process of law must be followed for the demolition of alleged unauthorised structures.

There must be a sense among the citizens that rule of law prevails in the country, a vacation bench of Justices AS Bopanna and Vikram Nath said.

The Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind organisation has previously submitted a petition against the demolition of structures in the national capital’s Jahangirpuri neighbourhood.

According to the new petitions in the pending petition, some significant developments have occurred since the last hearing in the case, necessitating the Court’s attention.

A few days ago, two political leaders made some distasteful and disrespectful remarks, causing communal strife in several regions of the country. Following the words of the two political leaders, a number of residents in Kanpur’s district called for a bandh in protest.

Protests have been erupting in many Indian cities to condemn the demolition of homes and businesses belonging to Muslims, in what critics call a growing pattern of “bulldozer justice” aimed at punishing activists from the minority group.

On Sunday, authorities in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh rode on a bulldozer to raze the home of Javed Ahmad, who they said was connected to Muslim religious protests that turned violent last Friday. Police arrested Ahmad on Saturday.

The protests were sparked by derogatory remarks about Islam and the Prophet Muhammed made recently by two spokespeople of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party. The party suspended one of them and expelled the other, issuing a rare statement saying it “strongly denounces insults of any religious personalities.”

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