The demolition drive in Nuh district of Haryana, which witnessed large-scale communal violence early this week, continued for a third day with scores of houses, shops and makeshift structures being pulled down amid allegations from the minority community that they were being targeted to appease the “Hindutva groups responsible for the conflagration”.
Sources said illegal constructions on 2.6 acres of land around Nalhar Medical College in Nuh town were demolished on Saturday.
“The owners of some illegal structures were also involved in the violence during the (Bajrang Dal-Vishwa Hindu Parishad) procession on Monday. The drive will continue,” a police officer said.
A Muslim resident of Nuh said that instead of taking action against the armed members of the Bajrang Dal and the VHP who had shouted provocative slogans during the procession, the police had adopted a pick-and-choose policy in carrying out the demolition drive.
“The authorities have started this bulldozer justice by demolishing homes and shops belonging to Muslims only. Why have they not demolished a single home of those responsible for the violence and who openly brandished weapons at the rally?” he told The Telegraph, requesting anonymity.
“This is being done to appease the Hindutva groups that are hell-bent on destroying the social harmony and communal amity which existed here for several years,” he added.
A Hindu resident who works as a construction labourer said: “Poor people belonging to both communities have suffered because of the violence. I am leaving the area with my wife and three children and going back to my village in Madhya Pradesh.”
“I have been working here for the past three years and had rented a small house in Nuh. We are poor people and never had any problem with each other,” he said, adding that “rajneeti ne hamara bhaichara kharab kar diya (politics has destroyed our brotherhood)”.
He said many poor Hindus who had settled in Nuh and were working as drivers, masons, cooks and construction workers were fleeing as the area was no longer safe.
Six people, including a cleric and two home guards, were killed in the violence that broke out after activists of the Bajrang Dal and the VHP took out a procession in Nuh town around 1.30pm on Monday, shouting abusive slogans, the police said. The procession was stopped by a group of young men and soon after, stone pelting started from both sides.
On Wednesday and Thursday, the authorities had bulldozed around 250 shanties in minority-dominated Nuh belonging to “illegal immigrants from Bangladesh”.
Several homes and shops of Muslim migrants were set on fire and vandalised by a mob on Tuesday and they were threatened with violence unless they moved out of the area. Many of them have already fled.
Haryana home minister Anil Vij on Saturday said he did not have information about any intelligence input on a possible build-up of tension in the wake of the religious procession taken out on Monday, amid claims from a Haryana CID inspector that the authorities had a heads-up on potential trouble during the VHP Yatra in the Muslim-majority district.
Referring to the purported claims of the CID inspector, made during a TV channel sting operation, Vij said a video was going viral and it had to be investigated whom the officer had shared the “intelligence” with.
“If he had the information, then whom did he share it with?” the minister asked, adding that he had sent the video to the additional chief secretary of the home department for analysis.
The CID comes under chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar.