The demolition exercise in Haryana’s Nuh in the wake of communal clashes in the area was halted today following an order by the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
Deputy Commissioner Dhirendra Khadgata asked officials concerned to stop the bulldozer action following the high court ruling. The court has taken up the matter suo motu a week after communal clashes in Haryana claimed six lives, led to a huge loss of property and sparked panic in Nuh and Gurugram.
Over 350 shanties and 50 cement structures were demolished in the past four days of demolition.
The demolition drive had come under criticism, with politicians alleging that it targeted Muslims. Also, many of those whose homes were razed had claimed that they were served no prior notice.
The local administration had, however, said they were taking action against illegal constructions and encroachment and no individual was being targeted.
“Demolition drive against illegal construction is underway and it will continue. Action is not being taken to target anyone. Our motive is to establish peace,” Mr Khadgata said yesterday.
Among those who had hit out at Haryana’s Manohar Lal Khattar government over the demolition drive is Hyderabad MP and chief of All India Majilis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) Asaduddin Owaisi. “Confidence Building means buildings, homes and medical shops and shanties of one community (Muslims) should be Demolished without following due process to give collective punishment. The @mlkhattar government has usurped the rights of Courts of Law Confidence is being given to people who are ideologically closer to BJP/Sangh,” he had said.
The district administration also drew fire after they stopped a four-member delegation from CPI from entering Nuh district. The argument between the CPI leaders and the police was caught on camera. CPI MP Binoy Viswam said, “This is the plight of the country today. The reality of the day, the Police are not allowing even us. That means that under this rule, even the freedom of movement is prohibited. Hooligans, goons and fascists can move freely,” he said.
Tension continues to grip the areas affected by the communal violence. Many of these areas are under curfew and paramilitary forces are on the ground to prevent any flare-up.
The curfew was relaxed for four hours this morning, during which ATMs were also opened.
The Internet ban in the area continues to remain in force.
Over 150 people have been arrested in connection with the clashes and 56 cases registered, Nuh police have said.