Bengaluru Police raid, tear down homes of Bengali Muslim migrants

Demanding proof of nationality, police destroy Muslim migrant property but not that of Hindu migrants


Under the pretext of an ‘anti-Bangladeshi’ drive, Bengaluru (Rural) Police on May 21, 2022 raided a settlement of Bengali Muslim migrants located in Sarjapura, Anugondanahalli and Hebbagodi police limits and destroyed their property.

According to The News Minute, the police launched a fresh drive to identify and extradite undocumented Bangladeshi migrants in the outskirts of the state capital. However, with no method of distinguishing a Bangladeshi from an Indian Bengali, authorities allegedly switched their focus on dwellings of Muslim migrants. Those who bore the brunt of this arbitrary decision were the Bengali-speaking Muslim migrants.

Speaking to TNM, they said the police resorted to unprovoked violence, damaged property and targeted people based on their religion. Residents said the police barged in with batons and demanded that the people leave the area immediately. The settlement houses 30 Bengali Muslim families who work for the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) for collection and segregation of garbage. Some even accused men police officers of frisking women. TNM also reported that the Anagondanahalli police ordered the people to leave the city even after looking at their Aadhaar cards and other documents proving their Indian identity.

This is in sharp contrast to the treatment of Dommasandra ‘s Bengali Hindus. These BBMP waste collectors and segregators also suffered a raid from the police. However, the 26 or so families were left alone after they showed the police proving them to be Hindu migrants. All of these migrants belong to the Malda-Murshidabad region of West Bengal. Yet as per Hindu and Muslim accounts, the officials only targeted the Muslim migrants.

With this, Bengaluru adds to a growing list of incidents where Muslims neighbourhoods have been subjected to forced evictions under claims of anti-encroachment drives or anti-infiltrators drives, etc., usually as an alleged retaliatory measure. Such eviction started in Khargone after the Ram Navami violence where even houses sanctioned under government schemes were not spared. Later, there were demolition drives in Jahangirpuri, Delhi in wake of the Hanuman Jayanti violence. The Supreme Court ordered status quo on the demolition, but the municipality continued hours after the order was given. There were also attempts to demolish structures in Shaheen Bagh but the people gathered and prevented this from happening. Still the demolition continued in Okhla. Recently, the homes of three Muslims were also demolished in Assam’s Nagaon district. There the affected families were involved in an alleged arson incident after a local fish-seller Safiqul Islam was allegedly killed in custody by the police.

In all these cases, the demolition drives took place in BJP-led states. This includes the recent action against Bengali Muslim migrants in Bengaluru. Further, in all these situations, the police refuted allegations of any targeted eviction.

Bengaluru Rural Superintendent of Police (SP) Kona Vamsi Krishna said there was absolutely no question of targeting. He claimed the police were only conducting preliminary identification drives and asking questions. Regarding documents, Krishna said such documents could easily be fake. He did not elaborate on police measures to verify nationality otherwise, said TNM.

The last major police crackdown like this in the city was in 2019. Many of these workers who provide crucial workforce for the city’s functioning migrated out of the city. However, these incidents are being reported across India.


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