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Prayagraj demolition: Records show wife of activist is owner, paid water bill & tax

* The receipt issued by Jal Kal Vibhag, Prayagraj, is dated February 8 and shows that Parveen Fatima paid a water bill of Rs 4,578.

* A certificate dated January 28 and issued by Prayagraj Nagar Nigam shows that House No. 39C/2A/1 is in the name of Parveen Fatima and that the house tax for financial year 2020-2021 has been paid.

AND YET, the Prayagraj administration demolished the house on Sunday after serving just a day’s notice, stating that construction was done in violation of provisions of the Uttar Pradesh Urban Planning and Development Act, 1973.

The notice, with the house number listed, was not addressed to Parveen Fatima but to her husband Mohammad Javed, the activist and businessman who was arrested Saturday on charges of allegedly instigating violent protests against derogatory remarks targeting the Prophet.

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Speaking to The Indian Express, Javed and Fatima’s younger daughter Sumaiya Fatima said: “The PDA (Prayagraj Development Authority) issued a notice to my father and demolished my mother’s residence. The house was owned by my mother Parveen Fatima’s father Kaleemuddin Siddiqui. He gifted it to my mother over two decades ago. Initially, we built the ground floor and later two more floors.”

Sumaiya, 19, said: “Since then, no government agency has told us that it was built illegally. The house tax, water tax and electricity connections are in the name of my mother. All taxes have been paid on time. Before Sunday, no official told us that our house was built wrongly.”

The notice, which was pasted on the gate of the house, stated: “The construction of 25 x 60 feet was done without getting permission on the ground and first floor.”

On Sunday, advocate K K Roy, who is representing Javed’s family, had told The Indian Express: “The house demolished on Sunday is in the name of Parveen Fatima, wife of Mohammad Javed; the notice on Saturday has been served to Javed Mohammad. As per Muslim law, the wife’s property does not belong to the husband.”

When contacted for their response to the alleged discrepancies, PDA secretary Ajeet Singh and zonal officer Ajay Kumar declined to comment. District Magistrate Sanjay Kumar Khatri was not available for comment.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a senior PDA official said: “We issue notice to the person who does construction on the land after collecting details from local residents. We have nothing to do with ownership of the land.”

Asked specifically about Javed’s case, the official said: “There was a stone plaque on the boundary wall with ‘Javed M’ written on it. Locals told us that the house belongs to Mohammad Javed and accordingly, a notice was issued to him.”

On Monday, The Indian Express visited the site and found a wooden table and some chairs placed in an open plot nearby. There was a steady stream of people from nearby localities to see the rubble left behind by the bulldozer although the doors of most neighbouring houses were shut.

According to Sumaiya, she is now staying with her mother at a relative’s house in Roshan Bagh.

“On Sunday, when the PDA team reached the house for demolition, only my sister-in-law Zeenat Masroor was present there. With the help of some relatives, she managed to remove some articles from the house. The bulldozer ran over whatever she failed to remove,” Sumaiya said.

Masroor, the wife of Sumaiya’s elder brother, returned to her parent’s home in the district along with her two minor children, she said. Sumaiya’s elder sister Afreen is an activist and a former JNU student.

According to Sumaiya, the police “framed” her father in the case and are “falsely” claiming the recovery of weapons and other articles from the house. The police have denied the allegations.

The demolition was carried out in the presence of District Magistrate Khatri and SSP Ajay Kumar.

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