Nuh residents say properties targeted were not illegal - Hindustan Times

Nuh residents say properties targeted were not illegal

Aug 08, 2023 04:59 AM IST

Residents alleged they were not furnished notices before the demolition, which is mandatory ahead of such an exercise.

Residents of Nuh, whose properties were demolished by the Haryana government over the past four days on the alleged grounds that these premises were illegal and also used by suspects to attack a Hindu religious procession on July 31, said they were not furnished notices before the demolition, which is mandatory ahead of such an exercise.

Shopkeepers look at the debris of their shops demolished by the administration in Nuh on Monday. (PTI)
Shopkeepers look at the debris of their shops demolished by the administration in Nuh on Monday. (PTI)

They asserted that their properties are legal and not on encroached land, as claimed by the administration.

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The attack on the procession last Monday had triggered communal clashes in Nuh, which quickly spread to Gurugram and other neighbouring cities, leaving six dead and over 100 injured, said police.

On Monday, the Nuh administration stopped the demolition drive after the Punjab and Haryana high court took suo motu cognisance of the action and ordered the authorities to pause the drive until further orders.

Also Read: High court restrains Haryana govt from carrying out demolitions in Nuh

A bench of justice GS Sandhawalia also asked the government why structures were razed without serving any notices to affected parties.

Nuh residents alleged that the administration pasted backdated notices on the their buildings just minutes before the demolition action. They also claimed that they have legal papers to prove their ownership.

Shehnaz Abdul Haleem, a resident whose seven shops were demolished in Nalhar on Friday, alleged that the team did not even ask them for any property document and arbitrarily declared it as forest land.

“We already have a land dispute case in the court on which the court has ordered status quo. We have all the documents to prove that it is our ancestral property. No illegal construction was carried out by us,” she said amid sobs.

Kamal Singh, a resident of Behror in Rajasthan, used to run a rented chemist’s shop opposite Nalhar medical college since the past eight years. He said a team of officials, accompanied by police, arrived on Friday and started bulldozing shops. “I was not even allowed to collect medicines and medical equipment worth lakhs of rupees. The officials should have at least given us a few hours to remove our valuables. The cash box and almirahs were also demolished along with the structure leaving us bereft of our livelihood,” he said.

Also Read: In Nuh clashes lurk old patterns of sectarianism

More than 25 shops were razed at Nalhar crossing on Friday and even more at Khedli crossing also known as Mevli crossing in Nuh, from where the violence broke out on July 31.

Shamim Mohammad, a tea vendor, said he was earning nearly 15,000 a month and was supporting his family of nine with that income. “My children are studying and scoring well. My wife and I were work hard to provide them a good education and proper meals. Our kiosk was damaged by both sides [police and rioters]. We had no role in the violence, and yet, it is we who suffer,” he said.

Mohamamd Akil, owner of Hotel Sahara, that was demolished by the administration on Sunday, said,“Not one official asked me for a single document. The government is targeting us because the violence broke out in the area where we have properties. Anyone can come and have food at the hotel; if anyone pelts a stone, how are we responsible for that person’s action?” he said.

Also Read: Nuh police start drone survey to identify hideouts in Aravallis

Abdul Rehman, a fruit juice shopkeeper at Badkali Chowk, said he was robbed and all edibles in his shop taken away by police on Saturday. “I earned about 20,000 a month after investing 2 lakh that I had collected over seven years. Now I am back to square one . I have no money, no shop and no income,” he said.

The Nuh administration started the demolition drive on Thursday and, over the next four days, it razed to ground over 800 buildings, said officials.

The high court has issued a notice to the government seeking details of the drive and future action plan.

The administration has denied the allegations by residents, and said they followed due procedure.

Nuh deputy commissioner Dhirendra Khadgata said, “We are identified houses, shops and other establishments that have come up on encroached land or were constructed illegally. We have not targeted anyone and it is a drive to free up government land and to keep a check on illegal constructions.”

Jawahar Yadav, officer on special duty (OSD) to chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar, said the drive has been stopped on the court’s orders.

“We served proper notices to occupants before demolition. We have followed all rules and regulations under the Demolition Act and have not taken a single illegal action. Similar drives were carried out in Gurugram; so it is not that we are targeting only Nuh,” he said.

Narendra Bijarniya, Nuh superintendent of police, said that the houses and establishments were used by attackers to target the procession and police. “We have videos and CCTV footage where the suspects can be seen using the rooftops to pelt stones and petrol bombs,” he said.Also

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    Leena Dhankhar has worked with Hindustan Times for five years. She has covered crime, traffic and excise. She now reports on civic issues and grievances of residents.

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