He saved three men from the mob in Nuh. Six days later, a bulldozer came visiting

During communal clashes in Nuh, Anish sheltered three men and led them to safety. But his house was damaged in the government’s demolition drive following the violence

Updated - August 08, 2023 11:27 am IST

Published - August 07, 2023 11:08 pm IST - NUH

Shabbir Ahmed, vice-president, Mewat Vikas Sabha, in front of Anish’s house, which was demolished on Sunday. 

Shabbir Ahmed, vice-president, Mewat Vikas Sabha, in front of Anish’s house, which was demolished on Sunday.  | Photo Credit: Ashok Kumar

As communal clashes broke out on July 31 during Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s Brijmandal Jalabhishek Yatra, the lives of Ravinder Phogat of Hisar, and his two friends travelling through Nuh got intertwined with that of a local resident, Anish. He gave the trio shelter, offered food, words of comfort, and then escorted them to safety. Six days later, bulldozers tore into Mr. Anish’s house. Mr. Phogat, the grateful guest, made frantic calls to the police to attest that it was a place they took refuge in, not one from which stones were pelted. But the damage had been done. “Anish did not have even 1% involvement,” rued the Hisar native.

Mr. Anish’s house faces the Gurugram-Alwar National Highway; a road leading from the highway to the right of his house was used by devotees to reach the Shiv temple in Nalhar two km away. Adjacent to a ceramic tiles showroom in Khedla village, Mr. Anish’s house was at the receiving end of the local administration’s demolition drive targeting premises that were allegedly used by rioters to attack the religious procession.

While asserting that action will be taken in any case registered in connection with the Nuh violence, Haryana Home Minister Anil Vij had said on August 4 that demolitions could also be part of the action taken against those involved: “Ilaaj mein bulldozer bhi ek karavayi hai [Bulldozer is also part of the remedial action].”

Mr. Phogat, a contractor, and his friends were returning from Badkali in a car after inspecting a road for which the Nuh Public Works Department (PWD) had floated a tender. They were met by stone pelters near Jhanda Park in Nuh around 1 p.m. “After covering some distance, we spotted the police and tried to pull over. But they asked us to not stop. We reached a tiles showroom and saw a mob in front. We ran for our lives and took shelter inside a house, which we later discovered belonged to Mr. Anish,” said Mr. Phogat.

While their car was set ablaze, the trio spent an anxious few hours with their Muslim host. Mr. Anish later dropped them off in his car at the PWD guest house in Nuh, where they stayed overnight and left for Gurugram and onward to Hisar the next day in Sohna BJP MLA Sanjay Singh’s car. They also filed an FIR in connection with the incident.

Also Read | 60 more structures razed in Nuh, officials say notice issued to owners

Before leaving, Mr. Phogat shared his number with Mr. Anish and extended an invitation to visit his Hisar residence someday.

The call came sooner than expected. On Sunday, Mr. Phogat was informed by his benefactor that his house was partially demolished by the district authorities. He tapped into his police and political connections. “I called the station house officer of Nuh city police station around 9 p.m. on Sunday and told him that Mr. Anish’s house was not used by the rioters and we were witnesses to it. I even sent a WhatsApp message to the Superintendent of Police,” he said.

Mr. Phogat then put in a word on Monday morning with Nuh BJP chief Narender Patel through his friend Gautam Sardana, Mayor, Hisar Municipal Corporation. It was all too late.

“After Bhaisaab got the call, he asked a senior official to halt any demolition of Mr. Anish’s property, but the drive was anyway stopped in view of the court orders,” confirmed Sanjay, Mr. Patel’s brother.

Also Read | ‘No notice, no time to take out belongings’, say demolition victims as bulldozer wreaks havoc in Nuh

A small-time businessman who owns two trucks, Mr. Anish, a native of Khairthal in Rajasthan, had settled in Nuh three years ago. He wishes he knew about the demolition in time; he and his family were away when the bulldozers arrived and got a phone call only later from a friend. “I was never served any notice prior to the demolition,” he claimed.

Repeated calls and messages to Ashwini Kumar, the sub-divisional magistrate of Nuh, went unanswered.

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