The Uttarakhand High Court on December 20, 2022, had ordered the removal of encroachments from railway land in the Banbhoolpura area of Haldwani. Importantly, the eviction drive was also conducted in 2007, then the same the residents of Haldwani, who are protesting this time, indulged in arson and rioting against the eviction drive.
It seems that illegality has become new norm in India. The latest incident in Haldwani, Uttarakhand, is demonstrating this fact. On December 28, 2022, thousands of Muslim illegal encroachers in Haldwani staged a protest against the clearance of illegal encroachments on railway land in accordance with a High Court ruling.
The Uttarakhand High Court on December 20, 2022, had ordered the removal of encroachments from railway land in the Banbhoolpura area of Haldwani after giving notice to the residents one week in advance.
Notably, the Uttarakhand High Court on November 9, 2016, had asked the North Eastern Railway administration to remove encroachments on railway land. After this ruling, about 4,365 notifications were issued that year. Importantly, the eviction operation was also conducted in 2007, then the same the residents of Haldwani, who are protesting this time, indulged in arson and rioting against the eviction drive.
Through this massive demonstration, a message is being sent through this crowd that this eviction drive would make them homeless. The most common things in this protest, which was seen in other protests in the past, is large number of participation of women, children, and elderly persons. A section of social media fact-checker, who normalised ‘Sar Tan Se Juda’ in the year 2022, are promoting this protest with the same level as they did during Shaheen Bagh protest, where anti-CAA protesters illegally blocked the road for months.
Now the matter has been listed in Supreme Court and the court will hear the matter on January 5, 2023. The Apex Court will hear petitions challenging against the Uttarakhand High Court order based on which demolitions in Haldwani were carried out.
The matter was mentioned before a bench comprising Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, Justice Abdul Nazeer and Justice PS Narasimha by Advocate Prashant Bhushan. Here it is worth mentioning that the same Prashant Bhushan was active in farmer protest and Shaheen Bagh protest too.
The fact of the matter is, this is not first incident of illegal enchroachment. The list of illegal encroachment by Muslims across the country is big. Recently, Assam Government in its eviction drive against illegal encroachments, mostly by Muslims, cleared about 4500 bighas of land in Darrang District.
In December 2022, Uttar Pradesh’s Barabanki district administration found that the wall of madrassa Jamia Madintul Uloom was constructed on land allotted to the electricity department, according to IANS report.
In September 2022, the Jammu & Kashmir administration said that it has retrieved 2414 kanal of land owned by Kashmiri Pandit migrants that had been encroached upon.
The most shocking news came in September 2022 from Tamil Nadu, where Tamil Nadu Waqf Board has claimed ownership of the 1500-year-old Manendiyavalli Chandrashekhara Swami temple land. The temple has 369 acres of property in and around Tiruchenthurai village in Tiruchi district of Tamil Nadu.
In July, 2021, the Uttar Pradesh Government cleared its land in Delhi encroached by Rohingyas.
In June 2021, the local administration took action against a 10-year-old Muslim shrine built illegally on encroached government land in Hardoi’s Kashiram Colony of Uttar Pradesh.
In April 2021, residents of the Kodavoour village of Karnataka’s famous temple city of Udupi accused revenue department officials of being complicit in the illegal construction of a mosque on the land that was earlier occupied by a Jain basadi (temple)
In West Bengal, according to a report in March 2021, local Muslims in Nadia’s Ghoshpara area illegally grabbed 10 acres of age-old Hindu temple land to build a cemetery.