More than 300 homes, businesses and roadside shanties – mainly belonging to Muslims – were bulldozed after communal violence.
An Indian court has asked whether days of demolitions of homes and businesses of mainly Muslim residents in the northern state of Haryana were “an exercise of ethnic cleansing”.
Ordering a halt to four days of bulldozing of properties in the state’s Nuh district, the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Monday said: “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.”The bench of Justice GS Sandhawalia and Justice Harpreet Kaur Jeewan also observed that the state authorities had conducted the demolition drive “without following the procedure established by law” or issuing any prior notices to the people owning the properties, legal news website LiveLaw reported.
Al Jazeera on Monday reported that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Haryana demolished hundreds of homes, shops and shanties in Nuh, the state’s only Muslim-majority district.
In recent years, several rights groups have condemned the BJP for making the bulldozing of properties owned by mainly Muslim suspects in cases of violence – and even political dissenters – a common practice in the states governed by the right-wing party.
The observation by the Punjab and Haryana High Court is a rare example of India’s judiciary asking a question that is already being asked by rights groups and experts around the world.