“Is the state responsible for ‘Ethnic Cleansing’? High court questions Nuh demolitions.”

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In the latest development surrounding the Nuh violence, the Punjab and Haryana High Court issued a compelling order on Monday, taking a strong stance against the bulldozer actions that were taking place in the aftermath of the communal violence that had struck Nuh and Gurugram. The court cited the well-known saying, “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely,” attributed to Lord Acton, as it formally issued notice to the state government.

This judicial intervention was sparked by the events unfolding in Nuh and Gurugram, where buildings were being brought down ostensibly as a response to a law and order problem. The court questioned whether these demolitions were actually a cover for a more sinister motive: the systematic destruction of structures belonging to a specific community. In its order, the court highlighted the concern of an “ethnic cleansing” taking place under the guise of maintaining law and order.

The court referred to a statement made by Haryana Home Minister Anil Vij, where he had likened the use of bulldozers to a form of “treatment,” alluding to the government’s efforts to address communal violence. In response, the court invoked a quote by Lord Acton, emphasizing that power has a tendency to corrupt and absolute power can lead to corruption of an extreme nature. This quote was used to underscore the importance of maintaining checks and balances within the exercise of power.

The court expressed its reservations regarding the actions being taken without proper demolition orders or official notices. It criticized the use of the law and order issue as a pretext to dismantle buildings without adhering to the established legal procedures. Media reports were referenced, claiming that houses and shops were being demolished on the grounds that those involved in “anti-social activity” had carried out illegal constructions.

The court instructed the Haryana government to provide an affidavit detailing the number of buildings that had been demolished within the past two weeks, both in Nuh and Gurugram. Additionally, the court sought clarification on whether any prior notice had been issued before the demolitions were carried out.

In response to the court’s ruling, Deputy Commissioner Dhirendra Khadgata directed the relevant officials to halt the bulldozer actions, in line with the high court’s decision. The court had taken the initiative to address the matter on its own motion, a week after communal clashes in Haryana led to tragic loss of life, substantial property damage, and widespread fear in Nuh and Gurugram.

As part of the ongoing developments, it was disclosed that over the course of four days, more than 350 shanties and 50 cement structures had been demolished in the affected areas. These details provided a sobering backdrop to the court’s concerns about the legality and motivations behind the demolitions, prompting a call for transparency and adherence to proper procedures.

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