The Haryana government has defended its demolition drive in Nuh, saying no structure was razed against the law and that the exercise was ”not remotely a case of ethnic cleansing” and no ”pick and choose” policy was adopted.
The Nuh district administration has said a total of 354 people were affected by the recent demolition drive, of which 283 were Muslims and 71 were Hindus.
”Though the Muslim-Hindu population ratio in Nuh is 80:20, the demolition proportion was 70:30.
“..We had to file reply in the court on behalf of Deputy Commissioner, Gurugram and DC Nuh. The court said the reply should be filed in the (court) registry which we will be doing on Saturday,” Haryana’s Additional Advocate General Deepak Sabharwal told reporters outside the high court complex after the hearing on Friday.
The replies were directed to be submitted to the Punjab and Haryana High Court Registry.
As the matter came up for resumed hearing before the Division Bench of Chief Justice Ravi Shanker Jha and Justice Arun Palli, Deepak Sabharwal told the Bench that replies were ready in compliance with the directions issued on previous date of hearing.
The demolition drive in Nuh came under the high court’s scanner on August 7 when the court of Justices G S Sandhawalia and Harpreet Kaur Jeevan took suo motu cognisance and halted the exercise. Referring to the demolition drive, the high court had then asked if it was an ”exercise of ethnic cleansing”.
According to Nuh Deputy Commissioner Dhirendra Khadgata’s affidavit, due procedure of law was followed by the district administration before demolitions that were carried out in last two weeks until August 7.
The government, while removing encroachments or unauthorised constructions, never adopted ”pick and choose” policy and that too on the basis of caste, creed or religion, the affidavit stated.
According to the 2011 Census data, it stated, Muslims account for more than 79.20 per cent of the total population in Nuh while rest are Hindus, though in Punhana and Firozpur Jhirka tehsils, Muslims account for 87 per cent and 85 per cent of the population, respectively.
A total of 443 structures were demolished in Nuh of which 161 were permanent and rest temporary.
”The apex court and the high court have time and again directed the state governments and the local authorities to demolish/remove unauthorised encroachments..,” the Nuh DC stated.
Meanwhile, Gurugram DC Nishant Kumar Yadav stated that the District Town and Country Planner, Gurugram carried out demolition drive with regard to unauthorised constructions at various locations of the district after following due procedure of law.
On the previous hearing a week ago, a division bench of justices Arun Palli and Jagmohan Bansal last week referred the case to the Chief Justice before adjourning the matter for Friday. The matter came up on Friday before the division bench of Chief Justice Ravi Shanker Jha and Justice Arun Palli.
Nuh was recently in news after communal clashes broke out on July 31 after a Vishva Hindu Parishad procession was pelted with stones. The violence that also spread to neighbouring Gurugram left six dead.
Talking about the demolition drive, Home Minister Anil Vij had earlier said, ”Ilaj mein bulldozer bhi ek karavayi hai (bulldozer is part of the treatment)”.
Meanwhile, Sabharwal said on Friday the state has prepared a 400-page reply and annexed all the documents detailing the procedure followed before the demolition drive.
”We have also stated in our reply that in the demolition drive which was carried out in Gurugram (the structures involved in it) entirely belong to one community — the Hindu community.
”In Nuh, we have said in our reply that as per 2011 Census and in 2023 the dominance is of the Muslim community and the (population) ratio is 80:20. So, in this we have annexed the chart and notices that in spite of this, the demolition which is carried out the ratio (of demolitions) is 70:30.
”So, it cannot be remotely said that it is a case of ethnic cleansing. It was only an apprehension by the court which the state has totally demonstrated in its reply that entire procedure has been followed,” Sabharwal said.
In Gurugram, ”100 per cent demolitions carried out are of the Hindu community”, Sabharwal said. He said the religious affiliations of those whose houses are razed are not mentioned in records, but ”since there was an apprehension of the court, so in the reply we have given the (details on) religion also”.
”The entire data of demolition has been annexed, entire demolition notices have been annexed and the reply runs into 400 pages,” he said.
He also said demolitions are carried out by different wings of the government including municipal councils and the state’s urban development authority but no data is collected about the religion or caste of those affected.
”In our reply, we have attached all notices. No procedure has been bypassed. Twenty-seven annexures, all the notices, demolition orders and the direction by the NGT or by the courts have been annexed,” he said.
(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – PTI)