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Demolitions not tied to riots, UP tells SC, provides ‘proof’

NEW DELHI: Refuting allegations that its demolition drive is aimed at punishing those who participated in violent protests following the remarks made by two BJP leaders on Prophet Mohammad, the UP government on Wednesday told the Supreme Court that the move had “no relation to the riots”, and deployment of bulldozers to remove illegal constructions and encroachments has been continuing for a long time.

In an affidavit filed in the apex court, the state government accused the petitioner Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind of giving before the court a mala fide colour to lawful action taken by autonomous local civic bodies by linking it with action against protesters. It told the court that the state is taking stringent action against the protesters under various laws including Indian Penal Code and Prevention of Public Property Damages Act.

In order to substantiate its contention, the state placed relevant documents before the court and contended that the demolition process of three buildings in Kanpur and Prayagraj, which was pointed out by the petitioner, was initiated months before the protests started and also notices were served to the owners as per the procedure prescribed by law.

“The petitioner has attempted to give a mala fide colour to lawful action taken by the local development authorities as per procedure established by law by cherry picking one-sided media reporting of a few incidents and extrapolating sweeping allegations from the same against the state. The same, it is submitted, is completely false and misleading,” the affidavit, filed by the state home department, said.

“It is humbly submitted that in so far as taking action against the person accused of rioting, the state government is taking stringent steps against them in accordance with a completely different set of statutes,” it added.

The affidavit stated that demolitions have been carried out by the Kanpur and the Prayagraj development authorities strictly in accordance with the UP Planning and Development Act.

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