Protests against Prophet Muhammad’s remarks by Nupur Sharma: Bulldozers out for second day of UP: Target is Prayagraj accused of violence
A day after the homes of two of the defendants were razed to the ground in Uttar Pradesh’s haraspur following violence over recent remarks by former BJP spokespersons on the Prophet Muhammad, bulldozers slammed into Prayagraj under a heavy police presence and began demolishing the home of a politician accused of instigating clashes on Friday.
Visuals shot by news crews showed bulldozers knocking down the gates and exterior walls of accused Mohammed Javed, a Prayagraj-based politician who police say is one of the ‘masterminds’ behind the violence in Friday in the city. Heavy stone throwing took place in at least two localities in Prayagraj and it took police more than five hours to restore peace.
Police and municipal teams were seen inside the house, with household items and luggage strewn about. Some of the furniture was brought out by the municipal teams and placed on the road.
The demolition by the Prayagraj Development Authority came just hours after a notice was posted outside Mr Javed’s residence claiming there was illegal construction on the ground floor and first floor of the House.
He claimed he failed to respond to a demolition order sent to him in May this year – a charge which has been strongly denied by the family.
According to the notice, Mr Javed was asked to have the illegal construction razed by June 9, failing which a final notice was sent to him to vacate the house by 11 a.m. on June 12.
However, the politician’s lawyers denied the allegations in a letter to the Chief Justice of Allahabad High Court.
Alleging that authorities failed to follow the rules and that the demolition was illegal, they said Mr Javed was not the owner of the house which was demolished. The house was in the name of his wife, who had received no notice of illegal construction.
Mr. Javed is a well-known political activist from Prayagraj, associated with the Welfare Party of India. His daughter, Afreen, a student at Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi, was part of protests against the center’s controversial citizenship law last year. Police said his role in the violence this week was also being investigated.
His wife and second daughter Somaiya were picked up by cops on Saturday night, but not arrested.
Seizure and razing of properties has been a highly controversial tactic employed by the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh to target criminals and riot defendants, often before sentencing. The opposition strongly criticized the strategy as a violation of the law.
On Saturday, city teams, accompanied by police, razed the homes of two defendants in Saharanpur, shared videos of city teams bulldozing under a heavy police presence, demolishing parts of the houses of two of the arrested defendants who they say , were illegal constructions.
Demolitions also took place in Kanpur, where violent clashes and stone throwing took place on June 3 over the same issue.
Uttar Pradesh police have arrested more than 300 people from various districts in the state in connection with Friday’s protests and violence, with Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath warning of ‘the toughest’ measures against those trying to vitiate the atmosphere.
Of those arrested, 91 were being held in Prayagraj and 71 in Saharanpur and 51 in Hathras, police said.