India bulldozing Muslims


It was a regular morning in New Delhi’s Jahangirpuri until a few hours after they began fasting, the residents were jolted awake by the sound of bulldozer wrecking their shops and stalls. Being criticized as ‘bulldozer politics’ or ‘bulldozer raj’ by many, the current use of bulldozers on the shops and houses of those accused of instigating communal violence in BJP-ruled states is now becoming a symbol of BJP’s open disparity against the minority Muslim community in India.
The demolition drive on April 20 in Jahangirpuri, during which a mosque was also damaged, continued for about three hours despite the Supreme Court ordering a stay. The demolition that was a result of communal violence that broke out on April 16 during the Hanuman Jayanti rally, a celebration of Hindu God Hanuman’s birth, left many families without any source of income.
However, this was not the first demolition drive of Muslim houses and stalls in India. On April 12, two days after the communal violence that broke out at the Ram Navami rally, a celebration of Hindu God Ram’s birth, a demolition drive was carried out in the Khargone region of Madhya Pradesh.
Civic authorities once again started a demolition drive in the Himmatnagar city of Gujarat, where a communal clash had broken out during the Ram Navami celebration earlier this month. Earlier, the administration had carried out a demolition drive using bulldozers to remove structures owned by people allegedly involved in the violence in Khambhat town there during the Ram Navami celebration. In less than three hours, several shops in Jahangirpuri and in Gujarat were reduced to rubble by the bulldozers amid scenes of people begging for the demolition to be stopped. Earlier in Khargone, the administration razed about 16 houses and 29 shops. On April 24, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) took out foot marches in New Delhi against BJP’s “bulldozer politics” and asked people to not get “intimidated and threatened” by the BJP’s “gunda raj and Corruption”.
About ten minutes were left till Iftar on the evening of April 16, when a mosque in Jahangirpuri was attacked by mobs. They were shouting the slogans of Jai Shree Ram. They damaged the walls and windows of the mosque. When the Muslim residents went out to stop the mob from damaging the mosque, Sabina said that men and women were beaten badly. It is not like someone will come and start beating us and we won’t do anything. We don’t have anyone. Even the authorities are with them. Soon, at least 25 people, mostly Muslim men, were arrested. Later, BJP demanded a probe into the role of illegal migrants in the violence, alleging that Bangladeshi and Rohingya Muslim migrants had started the violence.
Niaz Faruqui, Secretary of Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind told Maktoob that the organization moved to the Supreme Court as the demolitions were not done following a proper procedure. They should have at least sent notices to people before starting the demolition under the municipal act but they didn’t do that,” he said. “We felt that it was a clear case of targeting a community. While a stay was ordered by the Supreme Court after the first appearance, Faruqui said that the Supreme Court directed that the status quo be maintained and listed the matter for further hearing on May 9.