Media Speak : Yogi Adityanath’s bulldozer drive claims mom, daughter


The Yogi Adityanath government’s bulldozer drive in Uttar Pradesh claimed two lives on 13 February afternoon when a mother and her daughter died of burn injuries suffered during the demolition of their allegedly illegal home in Kanpur Rural.
The family of the deceased alleged that someone in the demolition squad had set the house on fire or a spark from the bulldozer caused the blaze. But the district magistrate said the mother-daughter had set themselves on fire.
Krishna Gopal Dixit, whose wife and daughter died, said at Chahla-Majhauli village in Maitha tehsil: ‘‘Some people had complained to the authorities on Monday morning that my house was built on government (gram sabha) land. I don’t know how the state government officials concluded within a few hours that the complaint was correct and sent a team of revenue department officials and police to demolish it with a bulldozer. While they were razing my house, a hut adjacent to it caught fire. My wife Pramila, 54, and daughter Shiva, 22, were sleeping in the hut. We saw them running out of the hut in flames. They died in a local hospital.’’
Dixit said the land was his, not the government’s. ‘‘It is a false complaint. The officials should have inquired about it properly before coming here with a bulldozer and bringing the house down without any warning. There is village politics here and some affluent people wanted to grab my house,’’ Dixit said. ‘‘I think someone from the demolition squad or a villager set my house on fire. It could also be that a spark from the bulldozer set off the fire.’’ The Uttar Pradesh government’s frequent use of the bulldozer to raze structures it deems illegal has earned Adityanath the monicker of ‘‘Bulldozer Baba’’.
A large number of villagers placed the bodies on the road late in the night and demanded action against the officials involved in the demolition. ‘‘They not only bulldozed my house but also removed a hand-pump and part of a temple,’’ Dixit said. Incidentally, Madhya Pradesh BJP panchayat minister reportedly asked the state Congress functionaries to join BJP or face the threat of the CM’s bulldozer. a video of his speech delivered in Ruthiyai town had gone viral in no time.
(Timers of India 20-01-23 and The Telegraph-15-02-23)

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