443 properties razed in Nuh, all after July 31 violence: Govt report - Hindustan Times
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443 properties razed in Nuh, all after July 31 violence: Govt report

By, Chandigarh
Aug 19, 2023 12:31 AM IST

The report also indicates that no property was demolished a week prior to the July 31 incident. However, prior notices were served. In Gurugram, only one property was demolished post violence.

The demolitions of all 443 properties/structures in Nuh by authorities were post the July 31 violence, a report prepared by the state government reveals. The report was prepared on the directions of the Punjab and Haryana high court in which details of demolitions carried out in two weeks period around that time were to be listed.

A bulldozer being used to demolish an ‘illegally constructed’ hotel in violence-hit Nuh. (PTI)
A bulldozer being used to demolish an ‘illegally constructed’ hotel in violence-hit Nuh. (PTI)

The report also indicates that no property was demolished a week prior to the July 31 incident. However, prior notices were served. In Gurugram, only one property was demolished post violence.

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The report was prepared in response to a suo motu PIL initiated by the high court on August 7. On that date, a division bench comprising justice GS Sandhawalia and justice Harpreet Kaur Jeewan had taken suo motu cognisance of the demolitions and observed that the law-and-order situation was being “used as a ruse” to pull buildings without due process.

The bench asked if the action was an “exercise of ethnic cleansing” by the state. It had then sought a report on the demolitions carried two weeks prior to August 7 and asked the government to clarify whether advance notices were given to the occupants of the buildings brought down during the drive.

The state government tried to submit the report during the hearing before the bench of chief justice, RS Jha in high court on Friday. However, the court adjourned the matter asking government to file it in registry.

After the hearing, additional advocate general, Haryana, Deepak Sabherwal told reporters that in Nuh since Muslim population is high—80 (Muslims):20 (Hindus) as per 2011 census, the number of demolitions of illegal encroachments of Muslim community is high.

“Still ratio is 70:30. 70 demolitions of encroachments from Muslim community and 30 from Hindu. There was no intention of the state to give data on religious lines. It was done as court had apprehension of ethnic cleansing,” he said.

The report reveals multiple agencies had carried out demolitions and prior notices were given in most cases. Some demolitions have been attributed to court orders, others as regular exercise. “No demolition was carried out without following the procedure of law. It is also pertinent to mention that the government while removing encroachments/ unauthorised constructions never adopted pick-and-choose policy and that too on the basis of caste, creed or religion. State government while collecting such information on encroachments does not collect any information with regard to caste, creed and religion and all the encroachers are dealt with in the same manner,” affidavits of both the DCs of Gurugram and Nuh read.

25 properties razed in Gurugram, only 1 post violence

The affidavit by deputy commissioner, Nishant Kumar Yadav reveals that between July 3 and August 8 as many as 25 properties were demolished in Gurugram involving 116 acres in which 57 acres have been cleared. Post violence only one property has been demolished in Gurugram and all the properties demolished in Gurugram were of Hindus.

354 persons affected by drive in Nuh

The affidavit of Nuh deputy commissioner Dhirendra Khadgata says five departments carried out demolitions in the district in which 443 structures were demolished, of which 162 were permanent and 281 were temporary. The number of persons affected from the demolition drive were 354, of which 71 were Hindus and 283 Muslims. The report reveals that all the encroachments removed in Nuh were post violence.

The demolition exercise began in Nuh on August 3, three days after communal violence erupted in the district on July 31 during a Hindu religious procession, injuring several and killing at least five. The violence eventually spiraled and spread to neighbouring districts, including Gurugram, where mobs set afire a mosque and pillaged several shops and restaurants. The demolitions continued till the morning of August 7, when the high court intervened and questioned the government over the manner it was being carried out.

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