Encroachment or rioting, what was the offence of the ones whose houses were bulldozed in Haryana?

Haryana Home minister says homes of “rioters” being demolished while officials present at the scene provide illegal encroachments as the reason, 250 shanties demolished under “bulldozer justice”
Image Courtesy: thewire.in

What started in Uttar Pradesh a few years back has now spread to the state of Haryana, where communal flare-ups are being followed by demolition drives against “encroachers” and “rioters”. After a “clash” was reported to have taken place in Nuh, Haryana on July 31 during the annual religious procession taken out by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad- Bajrang Dal, the Haryana government has resorted to bulldozing houses. As per a report in the Telegraph, the Bharatiya Janata Party government in Haryana has bulldozed around 250 shanties of “illegal” immigrants from Bangladesh in the Muslim-dominated Nuh district. The police has provided that majority of bulldozed houses belonged to people booked as accused in the recent communal violence. As per a report in the Economic Times, the Haryana Urban Development Authority have been carrying out the demolitions.

On August 5, several establishments in Tauru, about 20 km from violence-hit Nuh, were also razed down by bulldozers. As reported by India Today, the authorities have again confirmed that residents of these “illegal” establishments were those who were “allegedly” involved in the riots that took place on July 31. Structures and shanties near Nuh’s SKM Government Medical College have also been demolished. 

In addition to this, the authorities have also bulldozed five houses on the way to Nalhar temple, as per the Economic Times. As provided by the police, 14 youths from this community were engaged in pelting stones. 

As per the India Today report, Nuh’s SDM Ashwini Kumar provided that the demolition drives are taking place on the orders of Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar. “This is on the orders of the CM. All of this is illegal construction. These people were involved in the riots,” Kumar stated.

It is essential to note that no official statement has been issued by the Nuh administration regarding the bulldozer operation. Reportedly, about 40 shops in the Nuh area will also be demolished in the demolition drive as they are “illegal”, as per official reports in India Today. The shops are present at the same location where vehicles were burnt and stone pelting had taken place.

State government’s stance: “Even bulldozers have been employed as a measure for resolution.” 

On August 4, Haryana Home Minister Anil Vij stat that all those who have been implicated to have a role in the clashes will suffer the consequences, as per the Economic Times. Vij provided that 202 people have been arrested so far and 80 taken into preventive detention in connection with the communal clashes in Nuh. Earlier, Vij had stated that Nuh was becoming a new Jamtara, a district in Jharkhand, known for being the India’s cyber-crime hub. He further hinted at a crackdown on cyber-crimes stemming from the area by Haryana authorities, as provided by the India Today. 

Statement of the officials at the demolition site

Contrasting statements were provided by officials present at the scene, who stated that the land occupied by illegal encroachments was under clearance and they did not draw any parallel between the demolition drive and the recently held communal tensions in the area, as per India Today. It has also been reported by the Economic Times that the pretext for the demolition drive was the encroachment of land owned by the Haryana Shahari Vikas Pradhikaran (HSVP).

These 250 shanties came up as illegal encroachments four years ago and were inhabited by illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. These people were earlier living in Assam before they settled here and set up shanties on Haryana Urban Authority land,” said a police officer.

As reported by Economic Times, police officials provided that the the demolition drive in the Nalhar demolition took place as the land belonged to the forest department.

“The residents have been served notices earlier, but they did not respond. We also came to know that some stone-pelters used this house as their hideouts and pelted stones from here on the worshippers,” said Nuh police spokesperson Krishan Kumar. 


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