A day after the communal clashes erupted in Khargone in Madhya Pradesh during a Ram Navami celebrations, the district authorities carried out a demolition drive.
The process was carried on soon after Home Minister Narottam Mishra warned, "Jis ghar se pathhar aye hai, us ghar ko bhi patharon kaa dher banaenge, (The houses that threw stones will be turned into a heap of rubble)"
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said that strict action will be taken against the rioters.
On Sunday, during the Ram Navami celebrations that turned violent - at least 10 houses were set ablaze and more than two dozen people suffered injuries. So far, 84 people have been arrested in the case related to rioting. The next day, the demolition of houses began.
In Khaskhaswadi locality of Madhya Pradesh's Khargone, the most number of demolitions have taken place.
The locality behind Khaskhaswadi, Bhawsar mohalla, was among the areas that reported heavy stone pelting on Sunday.
One of those houses, BOOM found, was built under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana.
Amjad Khan, the resident of the house that is now demolished, told BOOM that a group of people came with JCB earth movers and started taking down their house.
"When we asked them why they are here, they said they have come to demolish our house," he said. Amjad then told them that the house had been built under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana. To which, the group of people said said that they have orders to destroy it.
"Where should we go?" Amjad asked the group of men. "We don't know about that. You figure out a solution," one of the workers told him.
Amjad said that when he and his family tried protesting, they were attacked with lathis. "They were people from the forces who beat us up," he said.
How MP Government Broke The Law By Demolishing Houses
According to legal experts, there is no law that allows for the demolition of a private structure as a punitive action.
"Demolition of property as a punitive action, or as punishment by the government, is illegal under all circumstances. Demolition can only happen in cases of encroachment, and even then, after following due process, such as giving adequate notice, and allowing the affected parties a chance to respond," advocate Gautam Bhatia said.
Advocate Anas Tanwir said thet the demolition is extrajudicial since it was done without a court's order. He added that the state's action reeked of "blatant lawlessness" and the demolition was tantamount to "punishment without an investigation, let alone a trial".
"We do not follow a policy of an eye for an eye or a tooth for a tooth. You cannot deprive someone of their property without law. Owning a private property may not be a fundamental right, but it is a constitutional right and is recognised as a Human Right," senior advocate Siddharth Luthra said.
-With inputs from Kashif Kakvi
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