After the tumultuous sequence of events in Delhi’s Jahangirpuri yesterday – a (following the ) which despite a Supreme Court intervention – several editorials in newspapers waxed lyrical about the need for “due process”.
called it “extremely troubling” saying authorities “seem to have no qualms using any law or agency for various motives” – in this case, “the subliminal messaging appeared to be payback to ‘rioters’”.
It placed special emphasis on the courts to step up and said: “Even if there are family members who allegedly rioted or even if structures are illegal, there’s due process – innocent until proven guilty and adequate notice, respectively – to be followed.” Otherwise, “the constitution is getting bulldozed as well”.
TOI also cited “clear provisions” under the MCD Act – sections 317, 343, 322 – that were not followed.
The Indian Express was in its criticism of the BJP.
“Evidently, the BJP-led North Delhi Municipal Corporation follows the BJP’s agenda ardently, even when the Court directs it to hold its hand, even when it goes against the law,” its editorial on Jahangirpuri said. “At Jahangirpuri, the fig leaf – of illegal constructions – is so thin it does not even require a puff of Delhi’s acrid air to be blown away.”
It described “illegal encroachment” as a “pretext for a BJP administration to target ‘rioters’ after the eruption of communal violence, who belong overwhelmingly to one community”. Express also condemned “brutish bulldozer politics” as a “flagrant flouting of due process”.
On the need for the judiciary to step in, the editorial said: “It must act. It cannot kick this can down the road. For the citizen’s sake – and for its own.”
also carried an editorial on the demolition drive, saying JCBs moving into “certain neighbourhoods” will encourage civilian populations to think “the entire system is biased against certain sections of Indians”. “And that even the sacred protection of due process will be jettisoned in favour of a targeted punitive system, with the thinnest of legal veneers.”
“Even in Khargone, the bulldozers came out right after a Ramnavami riot,” the editorial pointed out. “The incidents bring no glory to the nation. Those who hold institutions must remember that compromising their integrity will bring long-term corrosive damage to the very thing they profess to hold dear. That is India.”
The Hindu did not carry an editorial on the demolition drive; its two editorials for the day were on Pakistan’s “frustration” with the Taliban, and the IMF’s forecast for India’s growth. Hindustan Times’ editorials today were on “freebie culture” and the impact of early summer on wheat crops; Telegraph’s editorials were on traditional medicines and government schools.