Demolition drive: Bulldozer leaves Shaheen Bagh, shuttering manually removed

The Delhi municipal corporation arrived in Shaheen Bagh equipped with bulldozers and heavy police, and paramilitary forces to carry out an anti-encroachment drive. Here are a few points of the events that unfolded on the ground:

  • Delhi Municipal corporation on Monday met with a large number of protestors as they arrived to carry out an anti-encroachment drive. The drive that was scheduled to take place on Friday was pushed to Monday due to the unavailability of sufficient security forces.
  • Delhi police and paramilitary forces detained several people, including AAP and Congress party workers, for staging a ‘dharna’ and blocking the bulldozers in the Shaheen Bagh area, where the Municipal Corporation has launched an anti-encroachment drive.

“This is a bulldozer of hatred. It is completely unconstitutional. We will not let this demolition happen,” a party leader said.

  • Police personnel forcefully removed the agitators who sat in front of the JCB bulldozer. The agitators also included women which were removed by the women security personnel.
  • The demolition was stopped after local AAP leader, Amanatullah Khan reached the spot and joined the protest. Khan claimed that the encroachment was removed earlier and all that was left were the scaffolding used for painting a structure on the road.
  • The ‘illegal encroachment’ i.e. an iron structure or a shuttering or formwork in front of a building was manually removed by the people even as a JCB bulldozer stood by during the proposed demolition drive.

While speaking to the media, Khan stated that he had himself inspected the whole area and spoken to every official, including the traffic police.

“I had, with my own JCB, removed a toilet that was illegally constructed outside a mosque. This is just vendetta politics. Just tell me where the encroachment is. If still there is an illegal structure. Tell me, I will myself remove it. I am the local MLA,” the AAP MLA said.

“Municipality will do its work, our workers and officials are ready, teams & bulldozers have been organised. Encroachments will be removed wherever they are,” Rajpal, chairman of the standing committee of South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC), central zone, was quoted by news agency ANI.

  • The South Delhi civic body had prepared a 10-day plan to remove encroachment from these areas, the first phase of which was to begin from today till May 13.
  • It is pertinent to note that the demolition was being carried out at the same spot anti-CAA-NRC protests were carried out.

Earlier, Delhi BJP chief Adesh Gupta had written to the civic body’s mayor last month, demanding removal of encroachment by “Rohingyas, Bangladeshis and anti-social elements”.

  • This anti-encroachment drive is followed by a similar one carried out in Delhi’s Jahangirpuri, a few days ago, following a clash between communities during a Hanuman Jayanti rally.
  • The demolition in Jahangirpuri continued despite the order of the Supreme Court. As the demolition continued despite the order, the apex court was forced to intervene again. A hearing on the matter is scheduled for Monday, May 9.

(The copy has been updated with inputs from IANS)

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