'Shouldn't Happen to People I Love': Protesters in Delhi Slam 'Bulldozer Raj'

Around 60 persons were taken to the Parliament Street Police Station amid the protest.

3 min read

Cameraperson: Ribhu Chaterjee

Video editor: Rahul Sanpui

Producer: Samarth Grover

"It is becoming so exhausting to just exist in this country… and I am among the privileged ones. If I was in northeast Delhi in 2020, I would have been subjected to the same," said Sania Rehmani, who was among the protesters at Jantar Mantar, raising their voice against ‘Bulldozer Raj’.

The protests come in light of the demolition of Afreen Fatima’s house in UP’s Prayagraj. On Sunday, 12 June, the local administration in UP had bulldozed the homes of those people who were allegedly involved in violent protests against former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Nupur Sharma's offensive remarks against Prophet Muhammad.

Afreen’s house was among the structures that had been demolished on Sunday. Her father, Javed Mohammad, was earlier arrested by the police, who claim that he was the main conspirator of the violence.

A sentiment of solidarity for Afreen echoed across Jantar Mantar as students and citizens held placards reading slogans such as 'down with bulldozer politics,' and 'stop state-sponsored terrorism against Muslims.'

Students held placards such as 'Down with Bulldozer Politics'.

(Ashna Butani/The Quint) 

Protests took place at Jamia Millia Islamia and UP Bhawan too, seeing participation of groups like Students Islamic Organisation of India (SIO), Muslim Students Federation (MSF), Fraternity Movement, Campus Front of India (CFI), All India Students Association (AISA) among others.

Around 60 persons were taken to the Parliament Street Police Station amid the protest.

‘I Am Here for My Muslim Friend’

Sania did not come to the protest alone. Her friend, Saloni Singh, who is a Delhi University student, said, "right now, I am here for my Muslim friend." She added that Sania was uncertain of coming alone and hence she decided to be there in support.

"I am not doing anything great by being here. We should all be doing the same," added Saloni.

Saloni and Sania at the protest.

(Ashna Butani/The Quint)

‘This Is Structural Oppression’

Kawalpreet Kaur, lawyer and National VP of AISA, said, “we are supposed to be a secular country but if you see the situation on the ground, it is a one-sided attack. Bulldozing homes is not justified and no procedure is being followed while doing the same.”

"We can see structural oppression at play, starting from Khargone to Jahingirpuri, where there were poor Muslims. Even their thelas (carts) were picked up. Nobody has received compensation as yet. We are seeing the same thing in Uttar Pradesh."
Kawalpreet Kaur, lawyer and National VP AISA

She added that it is not an isolated incident of removing encroachments but structured oppression.

AISA Working General Secretary Prasenjeet said, "AISA extends utmost solidarity to the family of Afreen and condemns the vicious demolition of the homes of many Muslim families like hers. We demand immediate termination of the police personnel who killed the youth protesters in Ranchi."

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