After demolishing the house of the alleged mastermind on June 10 in Prayagraj, authorities are now going over a list of 37 other accused for possibly similar action.
An official said the Prayagraj Development Authority (PDA) is trying to identify the homes of the 37 people and action “according to the law” will be taken if their building plans have not been approved.
Violence broke out in Prayagraj and some other Uttar Pradesh cities on June 10 during protests over the recent remarks on Prophet Mohammad by now-suspended BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma.
On June 12, the PDA bulldozed the house of Javed Ahmad, the main accused in the violence during which mobs hurled stones, some motorcycles and carts were set on fire and a policeman injured.
Prayagraj Senior Superintendent of Police Ajay Kumar earlier said two country-made pistols and several live cartridges were recovered from the house during a search.
The demolition, a part of a series of similar actions by Uttar Pradesh Police in other places, was criticised by opposition parties and some legal experts.
But other accused could face similar action in Prayagraj.
PDA zonal officer Ajay Kumar told on June 14 that the authority has got a list of others allegedly involved in stone-pelting.
"The PDA is searching the addresses of 37 accused people. However, most of the people locked their homes and left the place after the stone-pelting. Due to this, there is a difficulty in finding their exact houses," he said.
Mr. Kumar said officials are going into the by-lanes to locate the houses. Once the houses are identified, they will check if the building plans were approved by the PDA.
"If the plans of their houses are not approved by the PDA, action will be taken against them as per the law," he said.
The building plan of main accused Javed Ahmad’s house, J K Ashiyana, in the city’s Kareli area was not approved, an official had said earlier.
"The house was built without getting its map passed by the PDA. For this, he was issued a notice on May 10 and was told to present his side on May 24. On the given date, neither Javed nor his lawyer turned up. No document was presented as well. Hence, on May 25, the demolition orders were issued," he said.
This version, however, was disputed by Mr. Ahmad’s family and a group of five lawyers has approached the Allahabad High Court.
The lawyers claimed that the house was actually owned by Mr. Ahmad’s wife Parveen Fatima, given to her by her parents before her marriage.
So Mr. Ahmad has no ownership over it and the demolition was against the law, they argued. The PDA pasted a notice on the house on June 11, mentioning a show-cause notice of a previous date, to “justify” the demolition, the lawyers said.
But Mr. Ahmad nor his wife never got a show-cause notice, they claimed.
Also, Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind filed two fresh pleas in the Supreme Court on June 13 seeking directions to the Uttar Pradesh government to ensure that no further demolitions are carried out without following the due process and such exercise is done only after adequate notice.
Samajwadi Party’s Akhilesh Yadav and Bahujan Samaj Party’s Mayawati are among the leaders who condemned the demolition of homes in Uttar Pradesh of those accused of violence.
Ms. Mayawati said a particular community is being targeted by such action.