Roll Back Demolition Drive in Uttarakhand, Demands Jamaat-e-Islami


Jamaat official voices concerns over communalism and growing insensitivity to anti-women crimes. 

Team Clarion

NEW DELHI – Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH) has demanded that the demolition drive in Uttarakhand’s Haldwani city be rolled back forthwith. It also called for an amicable settlement between the Railway authorities and those facing eviction through negotiation and dialogue.

Addressing the media at its headquarters here on Saturday, JIH Vice President Prof Mohammad Salim Engineer welcomed the decision of the Supreme Court to stay the order of the Uttarakhand High Court to evict thousands of families in the Haldwani area.

Prof Salim hailed the apex court’s order and said it would strengthen the trust of the people in the judiciary. He endorsed the comments of Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice A.S. Oka that “there cannot be uprooting 50,000 people overnight… It’s a human issue, some workable solution needs to be found. It may not be correct to say that paramilitary forces have to be deployed to remove people who have been living there for decades.” 

According to reports, over 4,500 homes, four government schools, 11 private schools, a bank, two overhead water tanks, 10 mosques, four temples, business establishments and shops were to be evicted in the Haldwani area. 

Disapproving the proposed demolitions, the Jamaat leader said that even though the authorities had the backing of the Uttarakhand High Court, evicting such a large number of people was completely inhuman and against all norms of justice and righteousness.  

Recently, a fact-finding team led by JIH Secretary Malik Mohtasim Khan, senior journalist, Prashant Tandon, Association for Protection of Civil Rights’ (APCR) Secretary Nadeem Khan, SPECT Foundation’s Laeeq Ahmed Khan, and JIH Assistant Secretary Inamur Rahman visited Haldwani and filed a report detailing the situation there.

Sharing the fact-finding report with the media after the visit, Nadeem Khan highlighted certain gross anomalies in following the due process. He mentioned that none of the eviction notices issued to the petitioners under the Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act, 1971 were addressed to them individually as mandated by the legislation and it was addressed to ‘all unauthorized occupants of Railways land, adjoining Haldwani Railway Station from Km. 78/0 to 83/0 Haldwani’. 

Voicing concern over the growing insensitivity to crime against women by society, the Jamaat’s Vice President lamented over the recent incidents. Citing several such incidents including the tragic death of Anjali Singh who was dragged by a car for almost 12 km in the country’s capital, a woman stabbed 51 times by her stalker with a screwdriver in Chhattisgarh’s Korba district, a 17-year-old girl attacked with acid on her way to school in West Delhi and 27-year-old murdered and hacked into 35 pieces, allegedly by her partner, in New Delhi, Prof. Salim said all the above incidents point to the growing apathy and disregard of society to the inviolability of a woman’s life and the dignity accorded to her by her Creator. 

Expressing grave concern over the growing communalism in Karnataka and other states, the JIH Vice President said, “this is especially worrying as assembly elections are due in Karnataka and very soon at the national level. From opposing the wearing of hijab in colleges, disallowing Muslims to set up stalls and shops in Hindu festivals and fairs and attacking Christian congregations – there seems to be a free rein to the peddlers of hate and bigotry in Karnataka. The move to adopt anti-conversion law, unveiling the portrait of Veer Savarkar in the Belagavi Assembly chamber and denigrating Tipu Sultan – appears to be a desperate attempt to stoke communalism for reaping political dividends.” 

Commenting that the governments in other states are also busy playing the politics of hate and division for electoral gains, Prof. Salim said, “in Assam, the Deeni Madaris are targeted and a delimitation exercise is being carried out in a communal manner to dilute the “Muslim” vote. In Madhya Pradesh, the number of communal incidents is on the rise. Taking a leaf from the government of Uttar Pradesh, the MP administration has become active in the selective demolitions of houses belonging to people from the Muslim community. Incidents like the pre-planned communal violence in Khargone on Ram Navami are like a template that can be replicated again as elections near so that the electorate can be polarised and the majority community vote is consolidated in favour of the party that dares to teach the minorities a lesson.”


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