First came the defiant mobs, then the bulldozers

Under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, an amount of Rs 2.50 lakh is paid in three installments to a beneficiary to build a house. This amount is sanctioned only after the Lekhpal reports that there is no dispute on this ground. Surveyors were also retained for all surveys on this subject. Their “no objection” report is also mandatory for approval.

Later, if it is proved that the said land has been disputed, action can be taken against both the surveyor and the Lekhpal.

If this house was “illegal”, then the question is whether or not action was taken against the Lekhpal and the surveyor.

It may or may not be a coincidence that the Prevention of Damage to Public and Private Property and Damage Recovery Bill 2021 was passed in Madhya Pradesh in December last year without discussion. Thanks to it, the courts could recover up to twice the cost of the alleged damages.

Even this bill prescribes due process. Several people injured in this case said they had to face demolition without notice. “Six months ago, the municipality measured the area but no opinion was published. But a day after the incident, when the city was under a strict curfew, more than eight shops that were part of the mosque were razed,” said Hidayatullah Mansuri, head of the Masjid committee which had a shop there. .

Among the 12 stores that were demolished, one belonged to Narendra Sureshchand Gupta who had run the kirana store there for two decades. “I was renting there. Without prior notice or verbal information, our stores were demolished. I managed to empty the store, but many of my fellow traders were unlucky,” Gupta said.

“Is there still a law in this country or is the government ready to bulldoze everything for their profit? Gupta lamented.

Interestingly, the district administration, which demolished the shops and houses calling them “illegal”, says the campaign has nothing to do with the communal clashes. But a Tweet from the Khargone Jansampark office claims those houses belonged to the rioters.

Accusing the police and district administration of unilateral action, Altaf Azad, a social worker from Khargone, said, “All the shops, restaurants and houses that have been demolished in the past two days belong to the minority community. Of 121 arrests, only six were from the majority community. More than 35 FIRs were registered, but only seven from the Muslim community.

Disturbed by news of house demolitions, Bhopal’s ShaharQazi Mushtaq Ali Nadvi met with Home Minister Mishra and submitted a memorandum.

Urging not to make people homeless, the memorandum called for a relaxation of the curfew due to the ongoing Ramzan.