Waquar Hasan | Clarion India
NEW DELHI – Demolition of the houses belonging to the protesters including student activist Afreen Fatima by the Uttar Pradesh government has received backlash from different sections of the society including a retired judge of Allahabad High Court.
On Friday, the civic administration flanked by an anti-riot police force razed the house of Javed Mohammed declaring it “illegal”. Javed, who is the father of Fatima, was called the mastermind of the Prayagraj protest by the local police and taken into custody. His daughter Sumaiya and wife were laso taken into custody and released later. The administration went ahead with its demolition drive and levelled the ground even though there was massive outrage online against it.
“This is totally illegal,” said former Allahabad High Court Chief Justice Govind Mathur while reacting to the demolition of the house.
“Even if you assume for a moment that the construction was illegal, which by the way is how crores of Indians live, it is impermissible that you demolish a house on a Sunday when the residents are in custody. It is not a technical issue but a question of rule of law,” Mathur was quoted by Indian Express saying.
Javed is a senior leader at the Welfare Party of India (WPI). His daughter Fatima is leader of the Fraternity Movement, the youth wing of the WPI.
Talking to Clarion India, National President of WPI Qasim Rasool Ilyas termed the demolition “lawlessness, illegal and unconstitutional” and called the allegations levelled against Javed “baseless”. He pointed out that Javed did not take part and not had he called any protest. The house which was demolished does not belong to Javed, but to his wife Praveen Fatima.
The family regularly paid taxes to the concerned authorities for the house. If the house was illegal, the corporation should have released a legal notice to the owner. Then, the owner could have filed a reply along with an authentic document. The action could be taken only if the authority is not satisfied with the reply. But here at night, a notice has been pasted on the house and the house was demolished in the morning, said Ilyas.
On the claim of declaring the house illegal, he asked if the house was illegal, and why the authorities were taking tax on the house.
“The bulldozer drive is meant to show that this government is teaching a lesson to a particular community and demoralizing them. By doing so, it wants to whip up communal passion for Hindus. This is completely wrong,” Ilyas said.
He said a man builds his house after putting in a lot of effort but it is demolished by the administration in no time. He informed that the family is trying to register a case against the authorities for demolishing the house of his wife. “Why his wife is being punished for an alleged act of Javed,” asked Ilyas.
He also demanded the release of Javed immediately.
AIMMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi also opposed the demolition of houses by the Uttar Pradesh government. He said if anyone commits a crime, the government can put him behind bars. But it can’t demolish his house.
“Is Uttar Pradesh chief minister the chief justice that he will decide whose house should be demolished?…bulldozers have not been run on the house but on the rule of law,” said Owaisi.