Demolition drive: Haryana dismisses ‘ethnic cleansing’ charge 

The government had earlier claimed that it was demolishing “illegally-constructed” buildings following communal violence

Updated - August 12, 2023 07:26 am IST

Published - August 11, 2023 09:15 pm IST - CHANDIGARH

 A shopkeepers stands near the debris of shops demolished by the administration in a drive against illegal construction, in Nuh district, on August 09, 2023.

A shopkeepers stands near the debris of shops demolished by the administration in a drive against illegal construction, in Nuh district, on August 09, 2023. | Photo Credit: PTI

The Haryana government on Friday asserted in the Punjab and Haryana High Court that the demolition drive in Muslim-dominated areas of Nuh district was not a case of “ethnic cleansing” and that due procedure, according to the law, was followed.

Earlier this week, the court had taken suo motu cognisance and halted the demolition drive in Nuh and Gurugram districts, asking the Haryana government whether any notice was issued before the demolitions. The government had claimed that it was demolishing “illegally-constructed” buildings following communal violence.

The matter came up for hearing before the Division Bench of Justices Arun Palli and Jagmohan Bansal. During the hearing, Haryana’s Additional Advocate-General Deepak Sabharwal informed the court that during the demolition in Nuh and Gurugram all due procedures established under the law were followed, and rejected the contention that it was an exercise in “ethnic cleansing”.

Also Read | Demolitions as state-sanctioned collective punishment

The matter will now be placed before the Chief Justice of the High Court.

On August 7, the High Court after taking suo motu cognisance of the demolition drive had issued a notice to the State government. “We issue directions to the State of Haryana to furnish an affidavit as to how many buildings have been demolished in the last two weeks, both in Nuh and Gurugram and whether any notice was issued before demolition. If any such demolition is to be carried out today, it should be stopped if the procedure is not followed as per law,” it said.

Also Read | Nuh-Mewat — old template, new battleground 

The court further said it had come to its notice that the State is “using force and demolishing buildings on account of the fact that some riots have occurred in Gurugram and Nuh”. It noted that the demolition had been done without notices being issued. “Law and order problem is being used as a ruse to bring down buildings without following the procedure established by law. The issue also arises whether the buildings belonging to a particular community are being brought down under the guise of law and order problem and an exercise of ethnic cleansing is being conducted by the State,” it stated.

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