‘Illegal constructions’ were the only reason for the demolition according to Kashyap.
The events that unfolded in Jahangirpuri today, following communal violence in the area last week, had multiple low points. There were bulldozers demolishing property without prior notification to residents, because the Delhi BJP chief had allegedly flagged concerns about “illegal constructions of rioters”. The demolishing continued even after the Supreme Court told them to stop. Hapless locals lost their livelihoods. The group editor of a leading news network thought it a good time to crack “jokes”.
And Aaj Tak’s Anjana Om Kashyap climbed aboard a bulldozer herself – who doesn’t love a good photo op? – after asking its driver hard-hitting questions such as, “You never removed this juice corner completely, only the roof has been removed. Is there a reason why?”
For starters, Aaj Tak itself seemed mildly confused as to whether the “encroachment drive” was targeting all illegal structures or Muslims suspected of rioting. Sample this tweet from its anchor this morning: “These secular stones...these communal bulldozers.”
ये धर्मनिरपेक्ष पत्थर…— Sweta Singh (@SwetaSinghAT) April 20, 2022
ये सांप्रदायिक बुलडोज़र।
Then there was Kashyap. She asked a man driving one of the bulldozers whether he was on duty for the entire day and how many places he had been told to target – all while sitting alongside him.
She disembarked, and we heaved a sigh of relief, but then she climbed back on, cameraman in tow, and the bulldozer headed towards a mosque alleged to be a target of the demolition drive.
As she rode along, she said, without a hint of irony, “The bulldozer has become a symbol of strict legal action against illegal constructions in Indian politics.”
The mosque, as Kashyap enthusiastically pointed out, was also at the heart of the violence on April 16. She then got down and reminded viewers they were seeing “live scenes”. Aaj Tak then cut to footage of the bulldozer breaking down shops lined alongside the mosque.
“This is the first legal action against the mosque,” Kashyap said. “The illegal construction is being completely removed.”
She then headed to a gate near the mosque where people were protesting the demolition. Kashyap poked her mic towards a woman, who said, “The Supreme Court has given the order, why are they demolishing this?”
Kashyap swiftly moved the mic to a man who said, “My name is Sonu. I'm a Hindu. Hindus and Muslims live here in harmony...Our employment has gone.”
At this point Kashyap had seemingly had enough and turned to the camera, saying, “We have to go from here. Police is asking us to leave.”
Interestingly, a separate clip on Aaj Tak showed a distraught young man saying his shop had been broken down.
After demolishing compound of Masjid, when these buldozers were moved near the Mandir for demolishing part of its structure, Hindus from the locality protested and stopped them from doing so. The Buldozers were later moved away from the Mandir. #StopBulldozingMuslimHouses pic.twitter.com/ElyUICAsPy— Mohammed Zubair (@zoo_bear) April 20, 2022
He began speaking about a Hindu-Muslim angle but was cut off by Kashyap, who said, “What were you thinking while doing illegal construction?”
The man angrily replied, “This has been around for 50 years...It suddenly become illegal after the Hindu-Muslim issue?”
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