Bulldozer Raj: An Eyesore to civil society

A "bulldozer" is a large, motorised machine equipped with a metal blade to the front for breaking through buildings and demolishing them to rubble. The definition of this word is vague today. Indians are seeing the word 'evolve' as a political tool.

In the States of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, “bulldozer justice” is in high demand. “Baba and Mama” (Yogi Adityanath and Shivraj Singh Chouhan) display their strongman image by bulldozing the houses and livelihood of the accused while the police and the judiciary sit like broody ducks. 

Yogi Adityanath has the blessing from his master for cherry-picking some cases and delivering “instant justice” by crushing their accommodation and means of their livelihood. On the other hand, Shivraj Singh Chouhan is reluctant to miss out on the limelight associated with the macho model of governance.

Recently, Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) leader Pravesh Shukla’s house in Sidhi, Madhya Pradesh, got demolished after a video of him urinating on a tribal man went viral. Shivraj Singh knew the consequences of not employing the same bulldozer raj on his party worker. Thus, after facing much pressure from his peers, he allowed a bulldozer to be driven through Pravesh Shukla’s ancestral home. 

For the people of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, justice gets delivered through a bulldozer operator’s throttle rather than the judge’s gavel. Such a predicament can not be a cause to celebrate. Thus, let us delve into the nuances and take a rational take on India’s newfound ‘bulldozer raj.’

How did Bulldozer Raj become popular?

Yogi Adityanath is known for many reasons, but being a level-headed Democrat is not one of them. During the Uttar Pradesh Vidhan Sabha elections in 2022, the front pages of many widespread newspapers featured Yogi asserting his “strongman” image with a Bulldozer serving as the backdrop. 

In the following weeks, the loudspeakers mounted on roadside shafts reverberated the tale of a certain “bulldozer baba.” The perception of a macho leader carried the day for BJP, and Yogi crowned himself for the second time.  

Soon, Bulldozer Baba busied himself with delivering “Bulldozer justice.” By 2020, many eminent properties belonging to syndicate goons and criminals like Vikas Dubey, Mukhtar Ansari, and Atique Ahmed got demolished. Yogi followed his actions by promising to give away the confiscated mafia lands to the poor. 

In Madhya Pradesh, Shivraj Singh Chouhan followed the example by asserting that his authorities would rev their bulldozers against the houses of any accused of heinous crimes like gang rape and rioting.  

Banking on such warnings by the respective governments, an average commoner living in these states was satisfied with their leader’s conviction to eliminate terror. However, it was not long before the government started abusing its powers.

Bulldozers pillage Jahangirpuri snubbing Supreme Court Order

In April 2022, Delhi’s Jahangirpuri witnessed horrific communal violence post-Ram Navami. Delhi’s BJP Chief Adesh Gupta then wrote to the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) seeking the demolition of the illegal households in the area. NDMC followed the order and teamed up with the Delhi Police, Rapid Action Force, and CRPF to deploy a thousand troops in the region, with dozens of bulldozers.

As the demolition began, a public petitioner appealed before the Supreme Court to abate the crisis. The Supreme Court followed with the orders to stop the demolition, but the ground officials paid no heed. Within a few hours, the riot-affected area got reduced to rubbles, and the inhabitants wept in sorrow.

Bulldozer Raj - Houses Demolished in Jahagirpuri (Delhi)
Houses Demolished in Jahagirpuri (Delhi)

A distorted version of justice

“My Government will bulldoze the houses of anyone even thinking of perpetuating crime against women and weaker sections of the society,” roared Yogi from the podium of an electoral rally. The keyword here is “even thinking,” in Yogi’s ‘Ram Rajya,’ he can use his psychic temperaments to judge and deliver ‘justice’ to any individual without any substantial evidence.

If the resolve of Yogi is so pure and just, why are those buildings built under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana getting demolished too? Why did the wheels of the bulldozer wait so long to reach Jahangirpuri, was the High-command waiting for a communal riot to unfold first? According to BJP MP Narasimha Rao, JCB stands for “Jihad Control Board,” thus, the real intention behind Bulldozer Justice brazenly presents itself.

What lies ahead for us?

For an average Indian frustrated with India’s slow-delivering judiciary, the connotations of “direct justice” is very appealing. But they get forced to overlook the disparity between “justice” and “vengeance.” The pursuit of “direct action” can temporarily satiate the masses. However, in the long run, the civil fabric of the nation gets stained under political vendetta and hate-mongering. Only by bridging the vacancies in Judiciary and Police Departments can the rule of law operate freely.

The fact that Indians have lost faith in “the due process of law” is rather unnerving. The prospect of Indians endorsing “direct action” despite having a functioning and institutionalized judicial system serves as a premonition of the failing health of India’s democracy. If we do not voice our concerns against the Bulldozer Raj soon enough, malicious politicians will not refrain from bulldozing our democratic rights too.


Hey this is Dev... (Devender). Living as a nomad without savings or a permanent home brings me joy. Each day, I embrace More »

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