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Bulldozers raze house of Muslim politician in possession of illegal weapons among encroachments by other riot suspects in UP

Bulldozers have been an effective tactic — described as 'controversial' by leftists — employed by the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh to target criminals and riot suspects

A day after levelling to the ground homes of two of the suspects in Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh, following Muslim violence in reaction to suspended BJP spokeswoman on Mohammed, Islam’s prophet, bulldozers in heavy police presence today demolished the house of a politician accused of instigating a mob on 10 June in Prayagraj.

The main accused in Prayagraj violence, Javed Mohammed, had illegal weapons and objectionable posters at his home, the Uttar Pradesh police have claimed. A search was conducted at his house before this morning’s demolition, the police said.

“We have found a 12 bore illegal pistol and a 315 bore pistol and cartridges and some documents that show objectionable comments against the honourable court,” said Ajay Kumar, the Senior Superintendent of Police, Prayagraj.

The bulldozers tore down gates and outer walls of suspect Mohammed Javed, a Prayagraj-based politician, who is one of the “masterminds” behind the Friday violence in the city, say the police. Muslims threw stones at the civic workers and police to stop the demolition drive in at least two Prayagraj localities. It took the police more than 5 h to restore peace.

Police personnel and municipal teams were seen inside the Muslim politician’s house, with household objects and luggage scattered around. Some of the furniture was brought out by municipal teams and placed on the road.

“The administration acts regularly against illegal constructions…  There is a set procedure including giving notice and in this matter of Javed Mohammed too we followed the procedure,” Sanjay Khatri, the District Magistrate of  Prayagraj, said.

The demolition by the Prayagraj Development Authority came just hours after a notice was put out outside the residence of Javed claiming illegal construction on the ground and first floors of the house. The civic authority claimed that he failed to reply to a demolition order sent to him in May this year — a charge that the family has firmly denied.

The notice stated that Javed was asked to get the illegal construction razed by June 9, failing which a final notice was sent to him to vacate the house by 11 AM on 12 June. However, lawyers for the politician denied the claims in a letter to the Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court.

Alleging that the authorities had not followed rules and that the demolition was illegal, they said Javed was not the owner of the house that was demolished. The house was in the name of his wife, who had not received any notice of illegal construction.

Javed is a well-known political activist from Prayagraj, associated with the Welfare Party of India. His daughter, Afreen, a student at Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University, was part of the protests against the centre’s controversial citizenship law last year. The police have said her role in this week’s violence is being probed as well.

The Muslim politician’s wife and second daughter Somaiya were detained by the cops last night, but not arrested.

Bulldozers have been an effective tactic — “controversial” in the leftist media’s narrative — employed by the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh to target criminals and riot suspects. It has caught on with other BJP governments such as Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s in Madhya Pradesh and the Bhupendrabhai Patel government in Gujarat. The opposition strongly criticises the strategy as a violation of the law.

Yesterday, municipal teams, accompanied by police, used bulldozers to raze the houses of two suspects in Saharanpur shared videos of municipal teams out with bulldozers under a heavy police presence, demolishing parts of the houses of two of the accused arrested which they claim were illegal constructions.

Demolitions were carried out also in Kanpur, where violent clashes and stone-throwing took place on 3 June over the same issue.

The Uttar Pradesh Police have arrested over 300 people from various districts in the state in connection with Friday’s protests and violence, with Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath warning of “strictest” action against those attempting to vitiate the atmosphere.

Among those arrested, 91 were held in Prayagraj and 71 in Saharanpur and 51 in Hathras, the police said. Muslims rioted across different cities of the country last week, protesting against Sharma’s statement that even one of the principal components of Islam, the hadiths, does not deny.

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