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BJP in video: Extremists, anti-nationals bulldozed in Bet Dwarka island

The video claimed that the Bet Dwarka island is important from the national security perspective and therefore, the state government sent bulldozers and 1,000 “security personnel” for running over “anti-national activities going on there. 

A screengrab from the video.

THE Gujarat government continued its demolition drive on Bet Dwarka island in Devbhumi Dwarka district for the fifth consecutive day on Wednesday, even as the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) posted a video on Twitter terming the alleged encroachers kattarpanthis (extremists) and deshvirodhi (anti-national).

The official Twitter account of BJP ‘Gujarat Pradesh’ posted a video on Wednesday with visuals of bulldozers demolishing structures, sub-titles and voice-over that said,  “Krushnanagarine karvama avi kattarpanthiothi mukt. Atikramankarnao par chalyu Gujarat sarkarnu bulldozer. (The Gujarat government’s bulldozer ran on encroachments- The Land of Lord Krishna has been rid of extremists).” It added that 1.8 lakh square feet of land had been freed of “extremists”.

“Bhajap sarkarni deshvirodhi sangathano ane kattarvadio same sidhi karyavahi (The BJP government takes direct action against anti-national organisations and extremists),” the  voice-over says in the video as images of JCB demolishing a structure resembling a religious structure and other premises, are flashed. The video also has images of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel.

Amit Pandya, Chief officer of Okha Municipality that has jurisdiction over this island, had told The Indian Express Tuesday that the demolition drive is being led by the Devbhumi Dwarka district administration after a survey identified unauthorised structures. He said that the affected parties were “duly served notices on September 30, a day before the drive began”.

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The video claimed that the Bet Dwarka island is important from the national security perspective and therefore, the state government sent bulldozers and 1,000 “security personnel” for running over “anti-national activities going on there.

The video goes on to add how among the residential and commercial spaces,  “more than half-a-dozen illegal religious places were demolished”, while mentioning the demolition of “Kamruddin Shah’s dargah in Survey No.550” as a case in point.

“Gradually, the task of making Bet Dwarka, the city of Lord Krishna, free from the clutches extremists is getting over,” the video says, adding that the Modi government at the Centre “has blocked 55 Pakistani YouTube channels and two websites”.

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Residence of a man who is an accused in the Rs 266-crore Khambhalia drug haul case of November 2021 is among the premises razed during the ongoing drive on Bet Dwarka island, located off Okha coast of Devbhumi Dwarka.

Police claim the accused sent a fishing trawler from Rupen harbour near Dwarka town to the Pakistani side of the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) in the Arabian Sea allegedly to receive the drug consignment from Pakistani suppliers.

“So Gujaratis, it is for you to decide now. Do you want to support the strong BJP government, which has delivered double blow to anti-nationals or those who shed tears for terrorists, those who declared terror accused innocent and supported infiltrators,” the video says as it ends with images of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, MP Rahul Gandhi and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal.

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Mukesh Pandya, district collector of Devbhumi Dwarka, confirmed that more than 100 structures were demolished by Wednesday evening. “Multiple departments are engaged in the drive so they must have followed the due process before proceeding with demolition,” the collector said.

Defending the video, Gujarat BJP spokesperson Yamal Vyas said, “Kattarpanthi is indicative of people who are enemies of the country. Dwarka is a very sensitive place as is on the coast and very close to Pakistan.”

Adding that encroachment at such remote places (the island) indicates some sinister motive, Vyas said, “If someone does encroachment in Ahmedabad city, the motive could be different. But when one does encroachment at such a remote place where no business is to be done or where no residence is to be set up, then obviously there is some sinister motive.”

Congress, however, said the video showed the failure of the BJP government in the state and that the drive is to send a message ahead of the Gujarat Assembly elections. “By releasing the video, the BJP has confessed that contrary to its claims till date, it has not done development work,” Congress spokesman Manish Doshi said, adding, “The BJP must clarify during whose reign these places were encroached? Who made money out of the encroachment?”

Doshi added, “Why demolition is happening only in Bet Dwarka? The BJP doesn’t want to play by the rule book and remove all encroachments. Rather it wants to send a message in the run up to the election.”

First published on: 06-10-2022 at 12:44:18 am
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