How bulldozer politics is egged on by nebulous laws of ‘clean up’

how bulldozer politics is egged on by nebulous laws of ‘clean up’
© Provided by Firstpost How bulldozer politics is egged on by nebulous laws of ‘clean up’

In the tactical repertoire of Indian leaders is a new kind of state-sponsored oppression — bulldozer politics. It is being legitimised and being used across geographies and conflicts.

This new form of state and non-state coercion, deployed in selective ways, is not really meant as a resolution of any conflict, but a convenient and effective favoured tool used by certain leaders to gain political mileage and win approval of large chunks of the electorate.

Also, its implementation is being facilitated by formal yet nebulous laws and informal practices that give substantial leeway to the state.

The bulldozer is being positioned as a metaphor to “clean up.”

It has metaphorically and literally become a symbol of destroying evil. It is the new punisher. Supposed to be targeting those violating the fabric of society, it is meant to deter anti-socials who are stone pelters, rioters, communal elements and those who destroy public property as a sign of protest. Hawkish leaders are typically perceived to be stronger and more uncompromising than their dovish counterparts.

But there are certain questions to be answered. Is the use of bulldozers covered under specific laws? Does it give a chance of appeal to those losing their property? Is this action legal? How did it suddenly spring up as an act of retaliation against wrong-doers?


Also Read

The state cannot let itself be bullied: Bulldozers raise cost of participating in street violence

Jokes Apart | Bulldozer as ‘Angry Young Man’, but when will corrupt babus get a taste of their own medicine?

‘Bulldozer Baba, Bulldozer Mama, bulldozer justice’: How the modest machine has become the buzzword in Indian politics

Delhi’s anti-encroachment drive: Arvind Kejriwal-led government seeks detailed report from MCD over bulldozer action since 1 April

Devil’s Advocate | The maligned JCB can actually serve a symbolic purpose in fight against corruption

‘Prepare for 2024’: PM Meets Yogi cabinet, lauds ‘bulldozer drive’ and law enforcement

Jahangirpuri: All that went under bulldozers in the wake of Hanuman Jayanti violence

Bulldozers reach Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh after Jahangirpuri: Why Supreme Court halted one drive, but not the other


The Supreme Court observed that demolitions can’t take place without following due process. It heard a petition against the Uttar Pradesh government’s move on razing houses of those accused of violence.

The Supreme Court said, “Demolitions have to be in accordance with law, they cannot be retaliatory.”

The Uttar Pradesh government and the civic authorities of Prayagraj and Kanpur were asked to respond to a Supreme Court notice on demolitions before the next hearing on 21 June. “Everything should look fair…we expect the authorities to act only in accordance with the law. Ensure safety so that nothing untoward happens,” said the judges.

On petitioners asking the court to order a stop to “illegal demolitions” in Uttar Pradesh, the judges said: “We can’t stay demolitions. We can say go in accordance with the law.”

Srinivas Kotni, an eminent senior lawyer in Delhi, said: “The governments are also bound to follow due process and protect rule of law. Any civilised society should endeavour for this. These are extremely sensitive issues which are bound to attract both extreme views. The government must ensure fair play at any cost.”

“In its excitement to send a swift and clear message of zero tolerance towards violence, the government may end up in punishing the innocent without a proper trial which is the hallmark of an adversarial legal system. Furthermore, such action will also mean that the innocent family members of the messengers of crime are stuck in the crossfire between the State and the criminals. Jingoistically and from a purely emotional standpoint the action of the government in swiftly sending the message across to the rioters may seem the right thing to do, but it may have wider ramifications for the society and country at large,” he added.

The Uttar Pradesh government asserted it had followed the law and had only razed homes that were illegally built. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said that the demolitions had been carried out “irrespective of community”.

“The due course of law is followed for demolitions. The media links the demolitions with political statements unnecessarily,” said senior lawyer Harish Salve on behalf of the UP administration.

“If the house has been constructed without following any laws at all then they can’t say that they should not even be touched,” Solicitor General Tushar Mehta argued, adding that the petitions were based on “misconceptions and politics”.

Legal experts say that this bulldozing process is done under the cover of municipal building planning laws.

Is there any law in India which prescribes the demolition of a convicted person’s house as the penalty for any offence?

This is precisely why brute force is used saying there have been violations of municipal planning laws. Working in sync with the local planning bodies allows the state government to clear itself of any allegations of excess.

“It is but natural for a serious Government to send a strict message to rioters who indulge in deplorable conduct of destroying public property and using violence to put across their point of view on various socio-political issues,” said senior lawyer Ravinder Singh Sethi.

He added: “The concepts and principles of rule of law and due process have to be adhered to for the larger good. Further brainstorming is a dire need to formulate a policy which has wider acceptance and sends out a clear cut message.”

It is therefore clear that proper discussions with society stakeholders are required to iron out flaws in the current actions. These Rambo-esque gestures might fetch votes but are they within the ambit of law?

In the minds of the general populace the “bulldozer” shows zero tolerance for musclemen, mafia, land-grabbers and thugs. There is no justice delayed or denied. In one fell swoop large parts of society feel happy and secure that their government is no wilting lily. It knows how to flex muscles and show pushback.

This works brilliantly in winning elections too.

Experts say it is time to introduce time-bound summary trials so that these cases don’t stretch for decades. Re-introducing the jury system is another idea. Radical changes are needed in the criminal justice delivery system.

The idea of putting the fear of God in the minds of “wannabe rioters” is great but India needs to devise mechanisms which are strictly legal. In the present bubble, a lot of the action is taking place utilising grey areas. That needs to stop.

The author is CEO of nnis. Views expressed are personal.

News Related


Being told I was dyslexic aged 18 changed my life

Had I been told that I would go on to read speeches on live TV I wouldn’t have believed you (Picture: PA Video/PA Wire) Many of you will know me ... Read more »

Pregnant hedgehog badly hurt after it was kicked and hit with stones

The poor hog had to have a cast put on her broken leg (Picture: Herts Police) A pregnant hedgehog was seriously injured after a group of boys kicked her and ... Read more »

Astonishing video of snake eating even bigger snake proves nature is brutal

To view this video please enable JavaScript, and consider upgrading to a web browser that supports HTML5 video The unusual sight of a snake devouring a much larger one has ... Read more »

How Atari paved the way for Fortnite — and changed the world

The Post looks back at Atari on its 50th anniversary. NY Post photo composite Game on! As the pandemic raged in 2020, a revolution played out in the entertainment world. ... Read more »

Rebel Maharashtra minister's supporters & Sena workers try to confront each other; cops intervene to avert clash

Rebel Maharashtra Shiv Sena MLAs unanimously chose party leader Eknath Shinde as their leader. ANI Pune: The supporters of rebel Maharashtra minister Rajendra Patil-Yadravkar, who is camping with the Eknath ... Read more »

Manipur sends relief materials, personnel to flood-hit Assam

Railway Protection Force (RPF) of Northeast Frontier Railway evacuates all passengers stranded at Ditokcherra due to landslides and floods in various parts of Assam following heavy rainfall. ANI Imphal: Manipur ... Read more »

Explained: How end of Roe v Wade will affect birth control, abortion pills and IVF treatments in the US

A man holds a sign as community members walk around Vander Veer Park during a march following the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v Wade in Davenport, Iowa. AP ... Read more »

Explained: Eknath Shinde’s pleas before the Supreme Court and what the judges said

Eknath Shinde and other rebel Shiv Sena MLAs got relief as the Supreme Court pushed the deadline to reply to the disqualification notices sent to them to 11 July. PTI ... Read more »

Bajaj Auto board approves Rs 2,500-cr share buyback at Rs 4,600 per share

Bajaj Auto Ltd on Monday said its board has approved a share buyback programme for an aggregate amount of up to Rs 2,500 crore. The board of directors of the ... Read more »

11 high-profile Premier League moves odds-on to take place this summer, including three to Man Utd

Manchester United might not have much luck in the transfer window so far but that is about to change according to the bookies. Read more »

Beaming Queen is all smiles as she visits Edinburgh for Ceremony of the Keys

THE Queen beamed in Edinburgh after travelling to Scotland with her family for the historical Ceremony of the Keys. Her Maj, 96, arrived for the traditional opener to Holyrood week for ... Read more »

‘We suffocated for a long time’, S Africa nightclub survivor says

The South African Police Service has launched an investigation into the incident which killed 21 young people. Read more »

Why Boris Johnson may soon be out of a job?

© Provided by Al Jazeera By-elections are not necessarily indicative of what will happen at the next general election, but they can be indicative of what will happen between the ... Read more »

Stabbing, Shootings in Lakeview, River North Leaves Several in the Hospital and in Critical Condition

Violence in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood erupted early Monday as Pride celebrations were wrapping up, when two separate incidents left several people hurt and in the hospital. At least one person ... Read more »

Motorcyclist dead after single-vehicle crash in Markham: police

A motorcyclist died after a single-vehicle crash in Markham on Sunday, police say. York Regional Police Staff Sgt. Mark Lau said emergency crews were called around 4:40 p.m. to a ... Read more »

When is Eid ul-Adha 2022? Dates of Islamic festival, how it’s linked to Hajj - and how it’s celebrated in UK

An important date is approaching for Muslims – Eid ul-adha, also known as Eid al-adha. It’s the second Eid celebration in the religious annual Islamic calendar and is due to ... Read more »

‘Nothing has changed since Mid Staffs probe’, senior medic warns

The BMA doctors’ union said there needs to be a culture change in the NHS. The BMA has raised concerns that ‘nothing has changed’ since Mid Staffordshire inquiry (PA) / ... Read more »

It’s nice to know some are trying tennis because of me, says Emma Raducanu

The British tennis star says she can relate to younger girls who feel shy to go on court Supplied E mma Raducanu says she is humbled to think her US ... Read more »

Man beat, raped and starved woman while holding her captive for 5 days: cops

Charles Tanner, 51, from Florida, has been arrested on sexual battery and other charges for allegedly holding a woman captive at his home for five days and repeatedly raping her ... Read more »

Female cops proliferate on Indian OTT, but how much have they evolved

Raveena Tandon in Aranyak Indian series have found a new backup plan for thrillers – the female cop. With room to cast top female actors who are willing to take ... Read more »

John Lewis sale: 20 big-brand dresses with up to 50% off

Searching for a new spring dress? Scroll through the John Lewis sale. (Getty Images) Yahoo Life’s editors are committed to independently selecting wonderful products at great prices for you. We ... Read more »

The Queen travels to Scotland for Ceremony of the Keys in first appearance since Platinum Jubilee

Queen Elizabeth II attends the Ceremony of the Keys at The Palace of Holyroodhouse The Queen has travelled to Scotland with members of her family for their traditional week of ... Read more »

How to save the oceans from climate change and wildlife loss

Fish are a vital source of protein for billions of people Hotter oceans threaten food security across the world Unsustainable fishing makes oceans a weaker defence in the fight against ... Read more »

Brutal chicken ready meal review left in handwritten note on supermarket shelf

A supermarket customer left a brutal handwritten review of a chicken ready meal on a note on the store shelf. Another shopper spotted the piece of paper while browsing the ... Read more »

Bride's 'mandatory' £12 fee causes outrage - but wedding guests get unlimited drinks

It's no secret that weddings can be expensive – and savvy couples are always on the lookout for ways to save some cash. But it can be tricky to figure ... Read more »

How to get a flight refund if yours is cancelled due to the Heathrow strikes

British Airways passengers are facing more travel chaos this summer after airline staff have voted in favour of strikes. Last week, hundreds of members of unions GMB and Unite, which ... Read more »

La Petite Coco eyes Yorkshire Oaks after Group 1 Curragh win

Group One winner La Petite Coco will now be aimed at the Yorkshire Oaks after claiming a half a length win in the Alwasmiyah Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh. Read more »

Michelle Keegan shows off ripped stomach in bikini on solo holiday to Australia

jQuery(function(){ if (typeof jwplayer_load == typeof indefined) { var jwplayer_load = 1; jQuery(window).load(function(){ jQuery(".sc_video_shortcode_jwplayer").each(function(){ var _this = $(this); jQuery.get(jQuery(this).attr("url"), function(data, status){ if (typeof data.split("\n") !== typeof undefined) { var src ... Read more »

Eddie Hearn: Jarrell Miller 'cheated' against Anthony Joshua and 'owes me money'

The fight was expected to take place in 2019 but fell through following three failed drug tests by Jarrell 'Big Baby' Miller. Read more »

SME Chatroom: 'IGCR Rules apply only when exemption notifications say so'

You can avail of the benefits of PIR, provided that your expansion project increases your installed capacity by at least 25 per cent. Q. What are the criteria for goods ... Read more »

Punjab budget 2022-23 will take state towards 'golden future': Kejriwal

Photo: ANI After the Bhagwant Mann-led Punjab government presented its first budget, AAP National Convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday said it will take the state towards ... Read more »

Will continue to look for acquisition opportunities: Tata Consumer chairman

N Chandrasekaran Tata Consumer Products Ltd will continue to look for the right acquisition opportunities in different categories to fuel its growth, the company’s chairman N Chandrasekaran said on Monday. ... Read more »

Special CBI court extends judicial custody of Satyendar Jain for 14 days

Satyendar Jain (Photo: PTI) A court here on Monday extended by two weeks the judicial custody of Delhi health minister Satyendar Jain, arrested by the ED in a money laundering ... Read more »

New 2022 Jaguar F-Pace Launched in Malaysia – RM598k

Only one variant will be available which is the F-Pace 2.0L 250PS R-Dynamic Jaguar Land Rover Malaysia today unveiled the new Jaguar F-Pace, sporting a new exterior design and enhanced ... Read more »

Manchester City star Phil Foden gets into heated row with partner Rebecca Cooke on Corfu beach after she ‘looked at his phone’

To view this video please enable JavaScript, and consider upgrading to a web browser that supports HTML5 video Phil Foden appeared to be escorted out of a beach club after ... Read more »

Lightyear 0: The solar-powered car you can 'drive for months without charging'

The Dutch startup Lightyear’s futuristic solar-powered car, with its five square metres of solar panels on the roof and bonnet and space-age aerodynamic sleekness, can cover 70 km powered solely from ... Read more »

Kevin Spacey Doc Series Set At Channel 4; ‘Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer’ Firm Roast Beef Productions And British TV Veteran Dorothy Byrne Attached

Actor Kevin Spacey arrives at the Westminster Magistrates court in London on June 16 AP/David Cliff Under fire actor Kevin Spacey’s life and upcoming legal cases are to be the ... Read more »

The dramatic cruise with an extraordinary art collection

edvard munch the scream Viking Cruises and the Norwegian artist Edvard Munch – currently the subject of a major summer exhibition at the Courtauld Gallery in London – are shipmates ... Read more »

Edinburgh crime news: Man sentenced to 300 hours community service after being found guilty of acts of cruelty towards his Staffordshire bull terrier cross dog, Roxy

© Edinburgh crime news: Man sentenced to 300 hours community service after being found guilty of acts … John Haxton, 29, previously of Murrayburn Green was charged under the Animal ... Read more »

How much does a barrister earn? The salary range explained and why barristers are striking over legal aid fees

The Criminal Bar Association, which represents barristers in England and Wales, said about 81.5 per cent of the more than 2,000 members to vote in the ballot supported walking out of court Read more »