“Bulldozer raj” in Chhattisgarh too?

After BJP’s victory in Chhattisgarh, the capital city of Raipur witnessed a series of shops demolished by bulldozers. Media reports allege that the shops belong to Muslims.
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According to the local newspaper reports, the demolition took place by a municipal corporation team, accompanied by the police, which sought to take action against the reportedly illegal street food shops. The demolition was reportedly carried out under the instruction of BJP MLA Brijmohan Agarwal, following which the municipal officers confiscated trolleys from street vendors and conducted a demolition in Raipur’s Moti Bagh area using JCBs. 

This abrupt intervention has drawn complaints from the local shopkeepers, who claim that the team conducted the demolition without any prior notice or due process. In addition to that reports allege that the shops that were demolished were selectively those of Muslims. 

Furthermore, according to local news outlet, Nai Duniya, the situation witnessed women students from Salem Girls School protesting against these shops. Carrying placards, these students demanded the removal of the shops, arguing that the shops were creating chaos on the street near their school.  The school administration has stated that the students had made several complaints regarding the shop but nothing had been addressed until now. 

The students complained that there were about 50 shops which sold food such as omelette, chicken, and meat, and these shops would run till late night and were frequented by scores of youth everyday which created disturbances. The men sometimes, they allege, even climbed the walls of the school, drank alcohol there, and left the bottles around. 

Earlier in April this year, the BJP, then in opposition, had claimed that Chhattisgarh under  Congress rule  has seen  criminals getting bold. The party promised action by bulldozer against such entities if it were voted to power. 

The BJP governments have been noted for their targeted use of demolitions against Muslim properties and also a targeted campaign against the public sale of meat. At election rallies nearby, UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath had reportedly placed bulldozers at his rally as icons; under his government the homes of several Muslims have been demolished. This has been seen as an attempt to instil fear in dissidents against the government, as many of homes demolished belonged to people who had protested against the government.


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