A day after razing down homes of two of the accused in Uttar Pradesh's Saharanpur following violence over recent remarks by former BJP spokespersons on Prophet Muhammad, bulldozers today rolled down in Prayagraj under heavy police presence and started demolishing the home of a politician accused of triggering clashes on Friday.
Visuals shot by news crews showed bulldozers tearing down gates and outer walls of accused Javed Mohammed, a Prayagraj-based politician, who, the police claim, is one of the "masterminds" behind the Friday violence in the city. There was major stone-throwing in at least two Prayagraj localities, and it took the police over five hours to restore peace.
Police personnel and municipal teams were seen inside the house, with household objects and luggage scattered around. Some of the furniture was brought out by municipal teams and placed on the road.
The demolition by the Prayagraj Development Authority came just hours after a notice was put out outside the residence of Mr Mohammed claiming illegal construction on the ground and first floors of the house.
It claimed that he failed to reply to a demolition order sent to him in May this year - a charge that has been firmly denied by the family.
According to the notice, Javed Mohammed was asked to get the illegal construction razed by June 9, failing which a final notice was sent to him to vacate the house by 11 am on June 12.
However, lawyers for the politician denied the claims in a letter to the Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court.
Alleging that the authorities had not followed rules and that the demolition was illegal, they said Mr Javed was not the owner of the house that was demolished. The house was in the name of his wife, who had not received any notice of illegal construction.
Javed Mohammed is a well-known political activist from Prayagraj, associated with Welfare Party of India. His daughter, Afreen, a student at Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University, was part of the protests against the centre's controversial citizenship law. The police have said her role in this week's violence is being probed as well.
His wife and second daughter Somaiya were detained by the cops on Saturday night, but not arrested.
Seizing and bulldozing properties has been a highly controversial tactic employed by the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh to target criminals and riot accused, often before their conviction. The opposition has strongly criticised the strategy as a violation of law.
On Saturday, municipal teams, accompanied by police, razed down homes of two accused in Saharanpur shared videos of municipal teams out with bulldozers under a heavy police presence, demolishing parts of homes of two of the accused arrested which they claim were illegal constructions.
Demolitions were also carried in Kanpur, where violent clashes and stone-throwing took place on June 3 over the same issue.
The Uttar Pradesh Police have arrested over 300 people from various districts in the state in connection with Friday's protests and violence, with Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath warning of "strictest" action against those attempting to vitiate the atmosphere.
Among those arrested, 91 were held in Prayagraj and 71 in Saharanpur and 51 in Hathras, the police said.