Why Are Indian Courts Silent as Bulldozer Raj Destroys Homes and Lives?
Yeh Jo India Hai Na… here, Indian Muslims are being increasingly treated as second-class citizens.
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Yeh Jo India Hai Na… Why is Javed Mohammed being punished here for the hate speech and bigotry of Nupur Sharma, BJP’s suspended National spokesperson? Why are Javed Mohammed and his family’s home bulldozed and razed to the ground? And under what law are these bulldozers bringing down homes in Prayagraj, Saharanpur, and Kanpur?
Where in the Indian Penal Code, or India’s Constitution, does it say that punishment can be given before a trial? And while the bulldozers run amok, why are our courts of law silent about what’s going on?
Is this the kind of India we want? A lawless land, where we can treat our minorities more and more like second-class citizens, target their customs, their education, their livelihoods, their homes, deny them fair and equal access to the law, allow hate mongers to abuse them; allow vigilantes to lynch them?
Bulldozer Is Government’s Message
Unfortunately, that’s what these bulldozers stand for. It’s a statement of intent, ke yeh jo bulldozer hai, yeh tumhe apni jagah bata raha hai. That you are at the mercy of a majoritarian government. This bulldozer can be unleashed upon you anytime so know your place. Aur chup raho. Ekdum chup. Varna, bulldozer chal jayega.
Was Javed Mohammad involved in the stone-pelting that took place in Prayagraj, did he plan it, lead it? Until it can be proved in a court of law, he cannot be punished.
So, why was his home demolished? Simply on the assumption that he is guilty because his name is in an FIR? Since when has Indian law allowed this? And even if he is found guilty – the punishment of bringing down someone’s home, which punishes not just him, but his entire family – such a punishment is not mentioned anywhere in Indian law.
Social Media Calls for Demolition of Nupur Sharma’s House
There are those on social media calling for Nupur Sharma’s house to be demolished and bulldozed, but that is not the justice we should be seeking. Some are asking – why not bulldoze the home of Union Minister Ajay Mishra’s son, who is accused of killing 5 people, whose bail was cancelled by the Supreme Court? Some ask – why not bulldoze the home of hate speech repeat offender Yati Narsinghanand and others like him?
But that’s the point – this form of bulldozer justice without trial should not be acceptable for any alleged offender in India, not for Javed Mohammad, not Nupur Sharma, Ashish Mishra, or Narsinghanand. Because Yeh Jo India Hai Na, it must believe in rule of law and not bulldozer law!
Narsinghanand Speaks for Nupur Sharma
And that’s where the problem lies in India today, the law is being unequally applied. Yati Narsinghanand has spoken at least twice in favour of Nupur Sharma, insulting BJP leaders in one video, and heaping abuse on Muslims in the other.
Already out on bail for hate speeches he gave in Haridwar, Narsinghanand has broken his bail conditions repeatedly, but the law has not touched him. Why?
On 11th June, BJP MLA Shalabh Mani Tripathi, who used to be Yogi Adityanath’s media advisor, shared a viral video of 2 UP policemen brutally caning nine people allegedly involved in protests.
His caption for the video was “Balvaiyon Ko Return Gift” meaning “a return gift for the rioters.” An MLA openly supports custodial torture which, in India, is a crime. But no action against Tripathi. Why?
India’s cricketing hero, Gautam Gambhir, who is also a BJP MP, rightly says that those issuing death threats to Nupur Sharma must be punished. But then Gautam Gambhir, is it fair that in India today, we can pick and choose whom to punish, and whom to spare? That is not the rule of law.
And get this, in the fine print, in court, the police will say that the home was illegal, it was an encroachment. But to the public, ministers are heard boasting – ‘this was their punishment for daring to protest, for daring to criticise us’. That is double-speak.
Because they know that no court of law will support the demolition of a home as ‘punishment’ just for protesting against the government. Which is every citizen’s right. Even in Javed Mohammed’s case, a back-dated government notice of illegal encroachment was pasted on the house on Saturday night, and the house was bulldozed the next day, as the whole country watched on TV and through multiple viral videos.
It has now also emerged that the actual owner of the house was not Javed Mohammed, but his wife Parveen Fatima. The government was in such a hurry to make an example out of Javed Mohammed, that they didn’t even bother to check if he was even the owner of the house.
Ex-Allahabad CJI Condemns Demolition
Justice Govind Mathur, former Chief Justice of Allahabad High Court, who ruled against the public naming and shaming of anti-CAA protestors in 2020, has condemned the demolition, saying clearly that this is not the rule of law.
And that brings us to one last, but the crucial point – an appeal to our law courts to act. Why are our courts not acting on the numerous petitions against the controversial laws that have been passed in some BJP-ruled states?
Petitions questioning the constitutional validity of the anti-conversion laws passed by UP, MP and Karnataka, petitions questioning the legality of homes being bulldozed in MP and UP, and petitions against the Karnataka High Court’s hijab ban.
The question we are asking is – why are we seeing delays in these rulings? Surely the courts can see that this is costing several Indian citizens their homes. Homes that we know, no court can ever ensure will be rebuilt. So, surely, our courts need to step in and act now.
Yeh Jo India Hai Na, it desperately needs to return to the rule of law and see the end of this inhuman bulldozer raj. If we don’t, then tomorrow, the government of the day, may well identify new people to target, and may make a new list of people whose homes should be demolished. And then, who knows, maybe your home, or my home, could be the next one on the bulldozer’s list.
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Topics: Naveen Jindal Bulldozer Nupur Sharma
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