Police watched demolition as crowd looted belongings

Usually, property disputes go to the court. But a couple was devastated to find their house in Kaveri Nagar in the city reduced to rubble on Monday.

P.P. Kumaramangalam (40) said a group of 20 men brought an excavator and illegally demolished his house allegedly in a bid to take over the 80 ft x 30 ft plot he had inherited from his father.

The demolition took place when his wife, Maya, who works as a nurse, was away at work and their 11-year-old son in school.

In supreme irony, the jurisdictional D.J. Police were present when the house was being bulldozed, but it turned out their role was confined to crowd control.

Mr. Kumaramangalam, a paramedic, was also at work when a neighbour called to say his house was being razed. By the time he rushed back, his home was gone and people were looting his belongings buried in the rubble. Everything the couple owned was gone: furniture, television, refrigerator, laptop and household articles.

When he confronted the demolition crew, he was assaulted, and when he tried to make a call on his mobile, one of the hired goons snatched the phone and gave it to a boy who ran away and disappeared into the crowd.

When Mr. Kumaramangalam went to the police station to file a complaint, the police refused to register a case, terming it a civil dispute. He then approached Police Commissioner Raghavendra H. Auradkar seeking help.

It was then that the police registered a case.

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