A group of lawyers, including Allahabad High Court Advocate KK Rai, on Sunday, 12 June, moved the high court, alleging "illegal demolition of the house of Parveen Fatima, wife of Javed Mohammad."
Mohammad is the main accused in the Prayagraj violence, whose house was demolished on Sunday by the district administration.
In their petition addressed to the chief justice of the Allahabad High Court, the lawyers said:
"To justify the act of demolition, the Pragyaraj development authority has pasted the notice on the wall of the house of Parveen Fatima yesterday ie on 11.06.2022 and in the said notice mention of some back date has been made regarding the issuance of show cause notice which was never received either by Javed Mohammad or his wife Parveen Fatima."
'Clear That Notice Was Hastily Issued,' Say Sources
Meanwhile, a source close to Mohammad's kin stated, "It seems clear that the notice was hastily issued on a weekend night to ensure that the family has no opportunity for legal recourse, as proceedings before a court might uncover the many factual inconsistencies and inaccuracies in the notice."
The source went on to highlight contradictions in claims made by the Prayagraj Development Authority in their notice ahead of the demolition of Mohammad's home.
Moreover, Afreen Fatima, the elder daughter of the accused, claimed that the family had not been served any notice about the illegal construction of the house.
This was seconded by Afreen's sister, Sumiaya, who said that no notice was issued to them earlier. "We ourselves didn't know our house was illegal. We were paying the house tax, water tax, and every other tax on a monthly or yearly basis, as per the requirement," she told The Quint.
She further said that the house was in her mother's name, but the authorities issued a notice in her father's name.
"Suddenly last night they (the authorities) realised that our house is illegal, and they issued a notice in my father's name, whereas the land and the house is in my mother's name. The authorities don't even know whom the house belongs to," Sumaiya added.
The Prayagraj Development Authority, however, asserted that the said building was illegally constructed, in their notice dated 10 June, which the source close to the family, as well as a group of lawyers who have since filed a letter-petition in the Allahabad High Court, claimed was only pasted outside the house on 11 June.
What Does the Notice Say?
The demolition notice, dated 10 June, also mentions a prior notice dated 10 May, a hearing on 24 May, and an order that was allegedly passed on 25 May. The notice accessed by The Quint reads:
"On 25 May, the demolition order was issued and Javed Mohammad was apprised about it via notice that was pasted on his house."
It also says that "it was expected that you (Javed Mohammed) demolish the house and intimate us about the same by 9 June, which you didn't."
However, the source close to the family and the group of lawyers claim that no such prior notice was issued and that the circular did not have any particulars about such proceedings.
Mistakes in Demolition Notice Served to Riot-Accused Javed Mohammad
The source further told The Quint that the authorities pasted a back-dated demolition letter on Mohammad's residence last night and expected the family to vacate the premises by morning.
They also said that the demolition notice was issued to Javed Mohammad, despite the property being in the name of his wife. The family also claims that the construction is legal and that the building was constructed on an ancestral property belonging to Javed's wife, on which he has no legal claim.
Family Highlights Anomalies in Issued Notices, Petition Filed Against 'Illegal Demolition'
The family of Javed Mohammed claims that the building and the property on which it stands actually belongs to Javed's wife and not him. The fact that the notice by Prayagaraj Development Authority was delivered not in the name of the actual owner of the property has also raised concerns about its authenticity.
Further, the authorities have also been accused of pasting a notice dated 10 June only on the night of 11 June. This, the source told The Quint, was being done despite the police presence in the house 24 hours earlier.
The notice copy accessed by The Quint also indicates that it lacks the official stamp and happens to read very vaguely.
Taking it to Twitter, senior counsel Prashant Bhushan shared a document that dubs Javed Mohammed's wife Parveen Fatima as the owner of the property.
The document signed by the tax superintendent dated 28 January 2022, further says, "This is to certify that house no...in locality...Is registered under Parveen Fatima in the Nagar Nigam records. House tax has been paid for the above house for the financial year 2020-21. There are no pending dues."
The demolition comes just a day after the police arrested Javed for allegedly conspiring to carry out violent protests against the derogatory remarks made by now-suspended BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma about Prophet Mohammed.
Apart from Javed, a total of 305 people have been arrested in Uttar Pradesh and a total of 13 first information reports (FIRs) have been registered as of Sunday, 12 June, 2022. Out of 305 accused, 91 are from Prayagraj, 71 are from Saharanpur, 51 are from Hathras, 34 are from Moradabad and Ambedkarnagar each, and 15 are from Ferozabad.
Meanwhile, the civic authorities brought in bulldozers, demolished houses belonging to the accused who were allegedly responsible for violence that erupted in Kanpur, Saharanpur, and Prayagraj. The police intensified their crackdown on stone-pelters across the state.