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In Khargone, bulldozers also leave behind rubble of house built under PM Awas Yojana

Documents with the family show that the house on Birla Marg was registered in the name of Hasina Fakhroo following the death of her husband who was the original beneficiary of the PM's housing scheme.

Written by Iram Siddique | Khargone |
Updated: April 13, 2022 10:44:17 pm
MPIn all, 16 houses and 29 shops were demolished across four locations in the town following the clashes Sunday. (screengrab)

A house built under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana was among those demolished Monday by the district administration in the Khaskhaswadi locality of Madhya Pradesh’s Khargone, following clashes nearby during a Ram Navami procession a day earlier.

Documents with the family show that the house on Birla Marg was registered in the name of Hasina Fakhroo following the death of her husband who was the original beneficiary of the PM’s housing scheme.

This was among the 12 houses demolished by the district administration in the locality as part of a drive against illegal properties. In all, 16 houses and 29 shops were demolished across four locations in the town following the clashes Sunday.

“On Monday morning, a team of municipal workers came with bulldozers. They pushed me out, rubbed cowdung on the wall outside where it was written that the house was constructed under the Awas Yojna, and demolished the house within minutes,” said Hasina, 60, breaking down.

Hasina and her family of seven, including five sons and two daughters, had been staying at the plot for over three decades, said her son Amjad Khan (35), who works as a labourer.

“Until 2020, we lived in a kuccha house on the plot. In 2020, when approval came under the Awas Yojana, we built a pucca house. We got Rs 2.5 lakh from the government and saved another Rs 1 lakh to get the house constructed,” he said.

Among the records Amjad produced to confirm ownership are a property tax receipt, an application to the Tehsildar, an eligibilty affidavit and a letter from Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan congratulating them on being a beneficiary of the PM’s housing scheme.

Hasina Fakhroo holds up photos of her ‘kuccha’ house and her PM Awas home.

There is also a photo of Hasina standing outside the kuccha house and another of her in front of the new home.

On Tuesday, Amjad rummaged through the debris, desperately looking for “anything” that could be salvaged.

According to the family, Hasina was served a notice on April 7 (Thursday), three days before the clashes, asking her to produce details of ownership within three days or face demolition.

“I rushed to the district court on Friday with all the documents, from my father’s death certificate to the property tax document, to get a reply typed. But how could we submit it on Saturday or Sunday when all the offices were closed? On Monday, they came with the bulldozers,” said Amjad while showing the typed reply to the notice.

When contacted by The Indian Express, District Collector P Anugraha said: “The beneficiary was allocated the money for construction of a house at some other plot but he constructed it on government land, which is worth Rs 2 crore. We have only removed encroachment from
government land.”

Asked why the house was demolished in the action following the clashes, when the owner had received a notice earlier as part of a separate process, the Collector said: “Khaskhaswadi is one of the main rioting areas, the rest is up to the chargesheet.”

However, Amjad said: “We had applied for the same plot and got the house allocated for the same plot. If we had an option to live on some other plot, why would we put our life-savings on an encroached plot?”

On Sunday, at least 10 houses were set ablaze and more than two dozen people, including SP Siddharth Choudhary, were injured in the violence in Khargone. At least 27 FIRs have been filed on complaints by both sides and 89 people arrested so far. The state government has also established its first claims tribunal to recover compensation for damages caused in the clashes.

According to Manoj Raghuvanshi, organiser of the Ram Navami procession of the Raghuvanshi community, the first procession was blocked around 11 am on Sunday by police barricades a few metres ahead of the mosque in Talab chowk.

“Every year, the procession passes through the same route as the Muslim community and we don’t have any problems with each other. But this year, there was barricading, which led to a heated argument between BJP office bearers and police personnel at the spot. It is possible that this incident sent a message to the community that the police were stopping the rally,” Raghuvanshi told reporters.

B L Mandloi, Inspector, Kotwali police station, said: “The procession was asked to leave between 2-3 pm but it got delayed until 5 pm and clashed with evening prayers at the mosque. It was around that time that a crowd of over 1,000 people assembled outside the Talab chowk mosque and the situation grew tense and stone-pelting began.” Mandloi sustained injuries to his head in the violence.

Incidents of stone-pelting were later reported from two-three other locations with houses of both Hindu and Muslim families set ablaze in Sanjay Nagar following which curfew was imposed in three localities.

Back in Talab chowk, where the clashes erupted, Narendra Gupta’s kirana shop in the masjid complex was among the 12 shops that were targeted, apart from the houses.

“I had been running the shop for the past 15 years. On Monday, I was standing near my house when I saw bulldozers moving towards my shop. I tried to remove as many items as I could. We are not against the action by the administration but if we had been given a day’s notice or at least informed earlier that day, we could have removed our stock,” he said.

But Gupta’s wife Chaya questioned the administration’s action. “Mamaji (Chouhan) said they will break the backbone of rioters but what are we being punished for?” she asked.

Hidayatulla Mansoori, a member of the mosque committee, said: “Eight months ago, some officials had come to take measurements but no notice was issued.”

Nagar Palika CEO Priyanka Patel said: “Around six months ago, notices were posted on shops that had come up in the masjid complex .” According to Patel, the complex in Talab chowk where these shops had come up was earmarked as ‘Nalla Madh’ (land allocated for construction of a drain).

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