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Homechevron_rightOpinionchevron_rightEditorialchevron_rightBulldozer, the new...

Bulldozer, the new all-powerful authority

Bulldozer, the new all-powerful authority

IT has become typical routine of states ruled by the BJP to enforce the law in such a manner as to make it seem as though no court proceedings—inquiry, trial, adjudication—has any relevance. . If there is an allegation that a crime has been committed, there will be an announcement from the top of the state administration that they will not tolerate the culprits and will proceed with strict action. Soon therafter the district administration or municipal authorities accompanied by the police will show up with bulldozers and demolish the houses and shops of the accused and implement the punishment. No notice is served before the process and so they are unable to approach the court and get a relief of stay. This practice is now a pattern in states such as Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, and Assam; Maharashtra, Uttarakhand, and Rajasthan are also following suit. Aside from that, the Aam Aadmi Party-ruled Delhi, the establishment of the National Capital Region (NRC) of Delhi is using its control over the police and urban development agencies to demolish residences, churches, dargahs, and burial grounds. If the law were applied in this manner to all offences committed in BJP-ruled states, it could have been characterised as action without looking at the face of culprits, even if they were illegal. But all of these are states where many crimes are committed on a daily basis which threaten life and property, disrupt the safety of women, harm the life and dignity of the Dalit community, and challenge the very existence of minority religious communities, including lynching.

Governments are in a haste to shield the perpetrators in those cases from punishment, even if the court finds them guilty. However, if the accused are Muslim, the trials happen swiftly. There are numerous incidents of properties being demolished only for just participating in protest programmes. Amnesty International, an international civil rights organization, has recently released a report that studies such measures and questions whether this is a punitive measure against religious minorities. Bulldozer ploughed through Rundh in Rajasthan the other day. Police and authorities swung into action after a hidden camera tipped off that illegal beef trade was going on in a remote area of the Alwar region. Two journalists who approached the traders in the name of buying meat were accompanied by a police team. Shops allegedly selling them were raided and some were arrested. Case has been registered against 25 people for allegedly running an illegal beef racket. Many men have fled from their homes in the area as bystanders and even those who were not present were arrested and jailed under strict laws. 12 houses in Kishangarh Bas, a Muslim-majority area, were demolished with bulldozers when only women were present in their homes. The authorities also destroyed the wheat and mustard crops of the 44-acre field. Action has also been taken against a few police officers for allegedly not taking action against the sale of illegal meat.

Ahead of the elections, preparations are underway to crack down on the vendors of biryani sold at roadside stalls in Rajasthan and Haryana, alleging they are using illegally slaughtered cow meat. It should also be noted that not a single accused has been convicted in the murders committed by cow vigilantes of Sangh Parivar in Rajasthan and Haryana. No matter how serious the crime, neither the police nor any other law enforcement agencies have the power to take the law into their own hands and punish the accused except to find them and bring them to justice. That is why police use of excessive force against the accused and killings of criminals constitute extra-legal activities. Many jurists have clearly stated that our constitution, laws and legal system cannot tolerate such a practice. However, the BJP and the media that take up their propaganda work, are hailing the Chief Ministers who are ordering this illegal practice as 'Bulldozer Mama' and 'Bulldozer Baba'. Illegally constructed buildings have been saved from demolition by placing statues of Modi and Yogi on top of them in the Prime Minister's home state of Gujarat. The time has come for the courts to come forward and say enough is enough to those who disregard the constitution and go ahead with encounter killings and bulldozer justice.

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TAGS:UPEditorialMinority RightsAmnesty InternationalDemolition Drivebulldozer raj
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