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At least 1,200 structures razed in 5-day Nuh demolition drive following Hindu-Muslim riots

Reported by

Sukriti Vats

Legal Review by

Anmol Gupta

Edited by

Anupa Sagar Kujur

Updated by

Updated by

Published on

May 19, 2024

June 4, 2024

Edited on

May 19, 2024

Sector

Land Use

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Other Kind of Land Use

Starting Year

2023

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

29

ha

Households Affected by Conflict

443

People Affected by Conflict

354

State

Haryana

Sector

Land Use

People Affected by Conflict

354

Households Affected by Conflict

443

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

29

ha

Starting Year

2023

Location of Conflict

Nuh

Nalhar Tehsil, Firozpur Jhirka Tehsil

Nuh

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Other Kind of Land Use

Land Conflict Summary

In the aftermath of the communal violence during a yatra in Nuh on 31 July 2023, the Haryana government in a five-day drive demolished several establishments (shops and houses) of Nuh residents, a majority of those affected belonged to the Muslim community, according to multiple media reports.
The reasons cited by the government in the court for demolishing the properties were that the structures were encroachments on government land or that they were unauthorised structures.
However, LCW investigation found that over 50 establishments with ‘title deeds’ and ‘settled possession’ were demolished during the drive and neither of them were constructed on ‘forest’ or ‘common' land as claimed by the government. This finding contradicted the government's claim.
Some of the residents also claimed that they were not served notices and that they didn't get enough time to take out their belongings.
In case of establishments violating building codes and regulations, the government is expected to follow a proper procedure by sending notices and giving enough time to the residents to appear and submit their stance.
According to the government affidavits, the dates of the notices served ranged from 2016 to as recent as 15 days before the demolition started. And say that the demolitions were carried out in coordination with “five departments/Public Authorities/ ULBs (Urban Local Bodies)”. 
The government drew criticism as media reports flagged how a majority of those affected due to the demolition drive belonged to the Muslim community. Among the 354 people who were affected due to the demolition drive, 283 were Muslims and 71 were Hindus. The district administration, however, denied targeting a particular community and maintained that due procedure was followed.
The demolition drive was halted only after the Punjab and Haryana High Court took suo motu cognisance of the demolition drive, terming it "ethnic cleansing", and observed that “buildings belonging to a particular community were being brought down under the guise of law and order problem”. In response, the Haryana government, replied in their affidavits on August 18 that it was a routine measure taken by “independent local authorities against the unauthorised occupiers or illegal structures and that too after following the due procedure of law”.
While the government affidavit states that 443 structures were demolished, of which 162 were permanent and the remaining 281 were temporary structures, a fact-finding report by Socio-Legal Information Centre, a non-profit legal aid and educational organisation, stated that 1,208 structures at 37 sites spanning 72.1 acres were razed down.
The report added that the demolitions were carried out in approximately 11 villages and tehsils.
In February 2024, two pleas were filed in the High Court against the 'unlawful' demolition of properties in Nuh. The lawyer representing the affected parties had requested the court to group them with the earlier case. They will now be heard together from March onwards.

Fact Sheet

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Complaint against procedural violations

Demand for compensation

Demand for rehabilitation

Other Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Region Classification

Urban and Rural

Type of Land

Common and Private

Type of Common Land

Forest and Non-Forest

What was the action taken by the police?

How many people did the police detain or arrest?

What is the current status of the detained/accused persons?

Did the person face any violence while in police custody?

Did the person face any violence while in police custody?

If any arrests took place, were the accused persons produced before a judge within 24 hours of the arrest?

If the accused was not produced before a magistrate within 24 hours, or not produced at all, what were the reasons?

Legislation under which the accused was charged

Was the accused person informed of their right to legal representation? Did the accused person have access to legal aid?

In cases where the accused person approached the court for bail, was bail granted?

Why was bail granted or rejected? If granted, what were the bail conditions and quantum of bail?

Were there any other notable irregularities that took place, or other significant details?

Details of sources (names of accused, names and numbers of any lawyers, names of any police officers contacted)

Status of Project

Original Project Deadline

Whether the Project has been Delayed

Significance of Land to Land Owners/Users

Government or community-regulated urban commons, Residential area

Whether the project was stalled due to land conflict

Source/Reference

Total investment involved (in Crores):

Type of investment:

Year of Estimation

Page Number In Investment Document:

Has the Conflict Ended?

No

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

Legal Data

Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict

Legislations/Policies Involved

Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act, 1971
Section 4 [Estate officer must issue a notice of show cause against proposed eviction]; Section 5 [An order of eviction shall only be made after an opportunity has been given to the unauthorised occupant to show cause after a personal hearing]
Sudama Singh v. Deepak Mohan Spolia (C.A. No(s). 21806-21807/2017, Supreme Court)
The Delhi High Court in the case had directed that before any eviction, the relevant authority must identify evictees eligible for relocation and rehabilitation. The state authorities must also ensure that basic civic liberties are ensured at the site of relocation. The Supreme Court confirmed this decision and stated that the directions passed in the High Court judgment must be complied with precisely.
Report of the Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing, A/HRC/RES/43/14, dated July 6, 2020
  1. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

  2. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

  3. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

  4. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

  5. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

  6. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

  7. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

Whether claims/objections were made as per procedure in the relevant statute

What was the claim(s)/objection(s) raised by the community?

What was the Decision of the Concerned Government Department?

Legal Processes and Loopholes Enabling the Conflict:

Forced evictions/dispossession of land

Legal Status:

In Court

Status of Case In Court

Pending

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

No

Name of the adjudicatory body

Name(s) of the Court(s)

Punjab and Haryana High Court

Case Number

CWP-1471-2024. CWP-PIL-68-2023

Main Reasoning/Decision of court

Soon after the demolitions, the Punjab and Haryana High Court took cognizance of the demolitions on August 7, 2023. On this date, the High Court called the demolitions an “exercise of ethnic cleansing” and issued interim orders to stop any further demolitions. Since then, the matter has not been heard substantively even once. In the interim, some of the affected residents of Nuh filed another writ petition before the High Court, seeking compensation for the alleged "unlawful demolition" of houses. The matter is set to be heard together with the earlier writ petition on July 9, 2024.

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

Displacement

Whether criminal law was used against protestors:

Reported Details of the Violation:

Demolition of both legally-owned setteled possession and encroachments without notice or scope of rehabilitation.

Date of Violation

August 2, 2023

Location of Violation

Nuh

Additional Information

Nature of Protest

Advocacy (for inclusion in courts)

Involvement of national and international NGOs

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Haryana Shahari Vikas Pradhikaran (HSVP), Town and Country Planning Department, Haryana Police, Forest Department and local panchayats

PSUs Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Government Authorities for Comments?

Name, Designation and Comment of the Government Authorities Approached

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?

Communities/Local Organisations in the Conflict:

Nuh residents

Information on the use of criminal law

What was the action taken by the police?

How many people did the police detain or arrest?

What is the current status of the detained/accused persons?

Did the person face any violence while in police custody?

If any arrests took place, were the accused persons produced before a judge within 24 hours of the arrest?

If the accused was not produced before a magistrate within 24 hours, or not produced at all, what were the reasons?

Legislation under which the accused was charged

Was the accused person informed of their right to legal representation? Did the accused person have access to legal aid?

In cases where the accused person approached the court for bail, was bail granted?

Why was bail granted or rejected? If granted, what were the bail conditions and quantum of bail?

Were there any other notable irregularities that took place, or other significant details?

Resources

Resources Related to Conflict

  • News Articles Related to the Conflict:
  • Documents Related to the Conflict:
  • Links Related to the Conflict:

Images

Aas Mohammad's demolished home and Mohammad Akil's Sahara hotel in the aftermath of riots.

Image Credit:  

Sukriti Vats

Akbari Begum's home allotted under the Priyadarshini Awaas Yojna

Image Credit:  

By special arrangement

Video

In the aftermath of the communal violence during a yatra in Nuh on 31 July 2023, the Haryana government in a five-day drive demolished several establishments (shops and houses) of Nuh residents, a majority of those affected belonged to the Muslim community, according to multiple media reports.
The reasons cited by the government in the court for demolishing the properties were that the structures were encroachments on government land or that they were unauthorised structures.
However, LCW investigation found that over 50 establishments with ‘title deeds’ and ‘settled possession’ were demolished during the drive and neither of them were constructed on ‘forest’ or ‘common' land as claimed by the government. This finding contradicted the government's claim.
Some of the residents also claimed that they were not served notices and that they didn't get enough time to take out their belongings.
In case of establishments violating building codes and regulations, the government is expected to follow a proper procedure by sending notices and giving enough time to the residents to appear and submit their stance.
According to the government affidavits, the dates of the notices served ranged from 2016 to as recent as 15 days before the demolition started. And say that the demolitions were carried out in coordination with “five departments/Public Authorities/ ULBs (Urban Local Bodies)”. 
The government drew criticism as media reports flagged how a majority of those affected due to the demolition drive belonged to the Muslim community. Among the 354 people who were affected due to the demolition drive, 283 were Muslims and 71 were Hindus. The district administration, however, denied targeting a particular community and maintained that due procedure was followed.
The demolition drive was halted only after the Punjab and Haryana High Court took suo motu cognisance of the demolition drive, terming it "ethnic cleansing", and observed that “buildings belonging to a particular community were being brought down under the guise of law and order problem”. In response, the Haryana government, replied in their affidavits on August 18 that it was a routine measure taken by “independent local authorities against the unauthorised occupiers or illegal structures and that too after following the due procedure of law”.
While the government affidavit states that 443 structures were demolished, of which 162 were permanent and the remaining 281 were temporary structures, a fact-finding report by Socio-Legal Information Centre, a non-profit legal aid and educational organisation, stated that 1,208 structures at 37 sites spanning 72.1 acres were razed down.
The report added that the demolitions were carried out in approximately 11 villages and tehsils.
In February 2024, two pleas were filed in the High Court against the 'unlawful' demolition of properties in Nuh. The lawyer representing the affected parties had requested the court to group them with the earlier case. They will now be heard together from March onwards.

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Complaint against procedural violations

Demand for compensation

Demand for rehabilitation

Other Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Region Classification

Urban and Rural

Type of Land

Common and Private

Type of Common Land

Forest and Non-Forest

Total investment involved (in Crores):

Type of investment:

Year of Estimation

Page Number In Investment Document:

Has the Conflict Ended?

No

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict

Legislations/Policies Involved

Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act, 1971
Section 4 [Estate officer must issue a notice of show cause against proposed eviction]; Section 5 [An order of eviction shall only be made after an opportunity has been given to the unauthorised occupant to show cause after a personal hearing]
Sudama Singh v. Deepak Mohan Spolia (C.A. No(s). 21806-21807/2017, Supreme Court)
The Delhi High Court in the case had directed that before any eviction, the relevant authority must identify evictees eligible for relocation and rehabilitation. The state authorities must also ensure that basic civic liberties are ensured at the site of relocation. The Supreme Court confirmed this decision and stated that the directions passed in the High Court judgment must be complied with precisely.
Report of the Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing, A/HRC/RES/43/14, dated July 6, 2020
  1. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

  2. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

  3. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

  4. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

  5. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

  6. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

  7. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

Whether claims/objections were made as per procedure in the relevant statute

What was the claim(s)/objection(s) raised by the community?

What was the Decision of the Concerned Government Department?

Legal Processes and Loopholes Enabling the Conflict:

Forced evictions/dispossession of land

Legal Status:

In Court

Status of Case In Court

Pending

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

No

Name of the adjudicatory body

Name(s) of the Court(s)

Punjab and Haryana High Court

Case Number

CWP-1471-2024. CWP-PIL-68-2023

Main Reasoning/Decision of court

Soon after the demolitions, the Punjab and Haryana High Court took cognizance of the demolitions on August 7, 2023. On this date, the High Court called the demolitions an “exercise of ethnic cleansing” and issued interim orders to stop any further demolitions. Since then, the matter has not been heard substantively even once. In the interim, some of the affected residents of Nuh filed another writ petition before the High Court, seeking compensation for the alleged "unlawful demolition" of houses. The matter is set to be heard together with the earlier writ petition on July 9, 2024.

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

Displacement

Whether criminal law was used against protestors:

Reported Details of the Violation:

Demolition of both legally-owned setteled possession and encroachments without notice or scope of rehabilitation.

Date of Violation

August 2, 2023

Location of Violation

Nuh

Nature of Protest

Advocacy (for inclusion in courts)

Involvement of national and international NGOs

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Haryana Shahari Vikas Pradhikaran (HSVP), Town and Country Planning Department, Haryana Police, Forest Department and local panchayats

PSUs Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Government Authorities for Comments?

Nuh Deputy Commissioner Dhirendra Khadgata said, “The matter is in court. Being subjudice, I can’t comment.” LCW also reached out to the Town and Country Planning Department, Haryana Shehri Vikas Pradhikaran, the Haryana Forest Department, Nuh’s District Administration and the police. No response has been received so far.

Name, Designation and Comment of the Government Authorities Approached

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?

Communities/Local Organisations in the Conflict:

Nuh residents

Resources Related to Conflict

  • News Articles Related to the Conflict:
  • Documents Related to the Conflict:
  • Links Related to the Conflict:
Aas Mohammad's demolished home and Mohammad Akil's Sahara hotel in the aftermath of riots.

Aas Mohammad's demolished home and Mohammad Akil's Sahara hotel in the aftermath of riots.

Image Credit:  

Sukriti Vats

Aas Mohammad's demolished home and Mohammad Akil's Sahara hotel in the aftermath of riots.

Akbari Begum's home allotted under the Priyadarshini Awaas Yojna

Image Credit:  

By special arrangement

Documented By

Text Link

Reviewed By

Text Link

Updated By

Text Link

Edited By

Text LinkLand Conflict Watch

Other Land Conflicts in Haryana

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