Sunday June 12, 2022

Indian Muslim Activist’s House Razed After Police Arrest Him For Protests Over Prophet Remarks

Lucknow: Civic authorities in Uttar Pradesh’s Prayagraj started demolishing the house of Welfare Party of India activist Javed Mohammed on Sunday afternoon, claiming that it was an illegal construction.

Earlier on Sunday, the Prayagraj Development Authority had asked Mohammed’s family to vacate the house by 11 am. The authority claimed that it had given a show cause notice to Mohammed, on May 10, asking him to appear for a hearing before it on May 24. However, he did not comply.

Somaiya Fatima, the younger daughter of Mohammad said to a media outlet that the family had not been served any notice about the alleged illegality of their house. Mohammad’s lawyer also questioned the legality of the demolition claiming that it belonged to his wife, but the order did not mention her name.

On Saturday, the police had arrested Mohammad for allegedly hatching a conspiracy to carry out violent protests against the disparaging remarks made by two Bharatiya Janata Party spokespersons about Prophet Muhammad.

Somaiya Fatima told that she and her mother had also been detained late on Saturday. They were released on Sunday morning.

While there are no provisions under Indian law to demolish the home of anyone accused of a crime, this pattern has been regularly observed across Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled states.

Somaiya Fatima said that while women police officers tried to get them to talk, a male officer abused her mother and said that force should be used to make them “spill the truth”.

The police also asked Somaiya and Parveen Fatima to call home and ask the family members to vacate the house. After their released around 8 am on Sunday, Somaiya and Parveen Fatima were taken to their relatives’ homes instead of their own home.

“They [The police] videographed us, our relatives, their home and asked us to not leave this place,” Somaiya Fatima said. She added that the family still does not know about the whereabouts of her father.

Kamal Krishna Roy Roy, a lawyer of the Mohammad family, told the media outlet that a petition has been filed in the Allahabad High Court challenging the demolition.

In a letter to the chief justice, Roy and other lawyers have argued that the house was registered under the name of Parveen Fatima, the wife of Javed Mohammed. Documents from the Prayagraj civic authorities showed Fatima’s name on them.

“The house was a gift from her [Fatima] father,” Roy told the media outlet . “Under Muslim Personal Law when a woman gets a property…It does not automatically belong to her husband. “The notice that the government has issued is against Javed Mohammad, but the property does not belong to him.”

State BJP chief Swatantra Dev Singh supported the calls for demolition of the homes of persons accused of violence. “Those whose homes are in the shadow of bulldozers do not throw stones at others,” he said on Twitter.

On Saturday, the Kanpur Development Authority demolished a four-storey high-rise building owned by a close aide of the main accused in the violence that broke out in the city last week.

On June 3, at least 40 persons were injured in Kanpur after violence had erupted over the BJP spokerspersons’ comments on the Prophet Muhammed.

Now-suspended BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma had made derogatory comments during a debate on the Times Now television channel on May 26, while Naveen Jindal, who was media head of the BJP’s Delhi unit, had posted a tweet on June 1 about the Prophet. He deleted the tweet later. Jindal was expelled from the party on June 5.

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