New Delhi, June 20 (KMS): Bulldozers, invented 100 years ago, have been used across the world to build homes, offices, roads and other infrastructures, but in recent years, they have become a weapon in the hands of India’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government to destroy homes and livelihoods of the minority Muslim community, says BBC in its fresh report.
The report says that nowhere are these excavators more visible than in the politically crucial Uttar Pradesh state of India. “Their latest outing was last Sunday when authorities in the city of Prayagraj (formerly Allahabad) tore down the home of political activist Javed Mohammad, alleging that it had been illegally built – a claim his family denied.
Critics said the real reason behind the demolition had nothing to do with the alleged illegality of the building and that he was being punished for being a vocal critic of the [BJP] government.
A day before the demolitions, police had arrested him, accusing him of being the “mastermind” behind violent protests in the city by Muslims against controversial remarks about the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) by Nupur Sharma, a former BJP leader. BJP leaders have defended their actions, saying “nothing is done against the law”.
But the demolitions – which have drawn some comparison with Israel’s use of heavy machinery in the Palestinian territories – have been criticised in India and made headlines globally, with critics saying there is “only the thinnest veneer of legality covering this official action” and that they “are bulldozing over the very spirit of the law”.
In a rare move, former judges and eminent lawyers wrote a letter to the country’s chief justice saying the use of bulldozers was “an unacceptable subversion of the rule of law” and urged the court to act against the “violence and repression against Muslim citizens”.
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In a strongly-worded column in the Indian Express newspaper, former federal minister Kapil Sibal wrote that “a bulldozer has no relevance to illegal structures, but has relevance to who I am and what I stand for”, said the BBC report.