The Madhya Pradesh High Court on June 9 issued a notice to the state government related to the demolition of a Muslim trader’s shop in Khargone town after it was hit by communal violence on April 10, NDTV reported on Tuesday.
The court was hearing a petition filed by Jahid Ali, an owner of a tent house business, who had alleged that a portion of his shop was demolished without any notice on April 11.
Communal violence broke out in Khargone on April 10 after some people had allegedly hurled stones at a Ram Navami procession, objecting to loud and provocative music being played in the Talab Chowk area. One person was killed and at least 24 were injured in the violence. Ten houses were also burnt.
On April 11, Madhya Pradesh demolished homes and shops of Muslims in Khargone.
Deputy Inspector General of Police Khargone Range Tilak Singh had claimed that the razed homes belonged to those who had thrown stones during the procession. However, Khargone Collector Anugraha P had told Scroll.in that the demolition process is part of the state government’s anti-encroachment drive.
In his plea, Ali had demanded a judicial inquiry against “arbitrary and illegal action” of the government and the local administration, according to NDTV. He also sought punitive action against officers who “acted extrajudicial” and compensation to reconstruct his property.
Advocate MM Bohra, who was representing Ali, told the single bench of Justice Pranay Verma that his client was the legal owner of the property and had been paying taxes, the Hindustan Times reported.
“The administration has demolished part of the property without issuing any notice to him [Ali] and without giving any opportunity to him, which is in violation of principles of natural justice,” Bohra told the court. “As a result of the action of [the] administration, the fundamental right of the petitioner is violated.”
The lawyer further contended that Ali was neither an accused nor involved in the Khargone violence.
“This petition was filed against the administration for being judge and jury in itself in taking a decision in a vendetta against the petitioners being members of a minority community without reasonability and rationality,” Bohra said, according to NDTV.
Advocate Akash Sharma, representing the state government, sought two weeks to file a reply in the matter.
While Justice Verma allowed the time sought by the government, he also ordered that no further action should be taken on the property till the next hearing, the Hindustan Times reported.