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Prophet Muhammad row: No link between riots and current demolition drive in Uttar Pradesh, Yogi govt tells Supreme Court

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Claiming that the ongoing demolition drive in Uttar Pradesh was being incorrectly linked to selective targeting of minorities, the Yogi Adityanath-led BJP government has informed the Supreme Court that the exercise was carried out in accordance with the existing law. Citing the Uttar Pradesh Urban Planning and Development Act, 1973, the government said that demolitions were carried upon the illegal structures after following due legal process. The apex court was hearing a plea filed by Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind which had claimed that the government had targeted the minority community in Prayagraj and Kanpur by bringing down their houses following widespread protests in the area.

The submission came following a wave of criticism over the government demolishing the houses of alleged rioters following violent protests against the now-suspended BJP leader Nupur Sharma’s remarks against Prophet Muhammad.

While pointing out that the government had taken action against the rioters under a separate set of laws against the rioters, the state counsel, while urging the apex court to dismiss the petition, slammed the petitioner for basing the arguments and making sweeping claims against the government after selectively picking biased media reports. The state pointed out that the Kanpur demolition of two houses in question was initiated much before the riots took place and in compliance with the Urban Planning Act.

Responding to the Prayagraj demolition, the UP government said that the drive was carried out by the Prayagraj Development Authority, which is an autonomous body, after following all legal procedures carefully, while stating that it had no connection with actions taken against rioters whatsoever.

Last week, the petitioner moved SC and sought directions on action against concerned officials after the houses were razed. After hearing the plea, the two-judge bench of Justices A.S. Bopanna and Vikram Nath directed the UP government to file its reply within three days. The top court also pointed out that any demolition has to be done by the book and cannot be retaliatory in nature. “Expect the authorities to act only in accordance with the law. Ensure safety so that nothing untoward happens,” stated the top court.





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