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”.
In a reply that it will submit to the Punjab and Haryana High Court registry, the state government has said though the Muslim-Hindu population ratio in Nuh is 80:20, the demolition proportion was 70:30.
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 note and halted the exercise. Referring to the demolition drive, the high court had then asked if it was an “exercise of ethnic cleansing”.
On the previous hearing, a division bench of justices Arun Palli and Jagmohan Bansal last week referred the case to the Chief Justice before adjourning the matter for today.
The matter came up today before the division bench of Chief Justice Ravi Shankar Jha and Justice Arun Palli.
“The court said the reply should be filed in the (court) registry which we will be doing,” Haryana’s Additional Advocate General Deepak Sabharwal told reporters outside the high court complex after the hearing today.
The demolition drive was started days after communal clashes broke out in Nuh on July 31 after a Vishva Hindu Parishad procession was pelted with stones. The violence, which also spread to neighbouring Gurugram, left six dead.
Talking about the demolition drive, Home Minister Anil had earlier said, “Ilaj mein bulldozer bhi ek karavayi hai (bulldozer is part of the treatment)”.
Mr Sabharwal said today that 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,” he said.
“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 inspite of this, the demolition which is carried out the ratio (of demolitions) is 70:30,” said Mr Sabharwal
“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,” he said.
In Gurugram, “100 percent demolitions carried out are of the Hindu community”, he added.
Mr Sabharwal 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.
Citing one example, he said some structures were razed in Nuh on the order of the NGT as they were in violation of the Punjab Land Preservation Act.
“For the state, all are equal and it is not remotely a case of ethnic cleansing. The state is very clear about it. We will be filing a reply before the registry on Saturday,” said Mr Sabharwal.
“We will be annexing the notices and even the orders passed for demolition and the directions by the NGT and the courts. So, not even a single demolition is there which is against the law,” said the additional advocate general.
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.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)