MCD's Shaheen Bagh Anti-Encroachment Drive Halted For Today, No Demolitions Done
This comes nearly three weeks after a demolition drive was carried out in Delhi's Jahangirpuri.
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A demolition drive scheduled for Monday, 9 May, at Delhi's Shaheen Bagh was not conducted after protests broke out in the area. Shaheen Bagh was the epicentre of anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) protests in 2019-20.
Locals and Congress workers sat on the roads and stood in the way of the bulldozers brought for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Municipal Corporation of Delhi's drive against illegal settlements. Some local traders and others at the site requested authorities not to use bulldozers and started removing the encroachments themselves.
A bulldozer that arrived at Shaheen Bagh before noon left around 1:30 pm as protests continued. No demolitions were carried out.
AAP MLA from Okhla, Amanatullah Khan, also joined the protests at Shaheen Bagh. "People have already removed encroachments on my request. 'Wazu khana' and toilets outside a mosque here were removed in presence of police, earlier. When there are no encroachments, why have they come here? Just to do politics?" Khan was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
Visuals from the area also showed some people climbing atop a bulldozer. Some protesters were detained by the police, as per reports.
(Photo: Accessed by The Quint)
(Photo: Accessed by The Quint)
The operation was slated to cover the Shaheen Bagh main road, from Jasola Canal to Kalindi Kunj park. Even as the deployment of police and paramilitary forces in Shaheen Bagh was stepped up on Monday morning ahead of the drive, the security proved inadequate on the ground as protesters showed up in large numbers.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court refused to entertain a plea filed by the Communist Party of India (Marxist) against an anti-encroachment drive and asked the petitioners to approach the high court instead.
Encroachments Will Be Removed Wherever They Are: SDMC
"Municipality will do its work; our workers and officials are ready, teams and bulldozers have been organized. Encroachments will be removed wherever they are, be it in Tughlakabad, Sangam Vihar, New Friends Colony or Shaheen Bagh," South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) chairman, Central Zone, Rajpal Singh was quoted as saying by ANI on Monday morning.
"Bulldozers of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi will be running tomorrow as well. Illegal encroachments will be removed in New Friends Colony from 11am tomorrow," he added.
On Thursday, a scheduled demolition drive in Shaheen Bagh was cancelled due to the non-availability of adequate police force, as per the SDMC.
The first phase of demolition drives in South Delhi had began on 4 May from the Karni Singh Shooting Range area in Tughlakabad, and will continue till 13 May, as per the civic body.
The anti-encroachment drives were planned in SDMC areas after Delhi BJP chief Adesh Gupta wrote to the mayor on 19 April to remove encroachment by "Rohingyas, Bangladeshis and anti-social elements."
This comes nearly three weeks after a demolition drive was carried out in Delhi's Jahangirpuri on the morning of 20 April, till the Supreme Court ordered its halting. The apex court's order came after some vending carts, shops, and other allegedly illegally constructions were destroyed by bulldozers during the demolition drive. A mosque gate was also razed
The drive in Jahangirpuri was initiated days after communal clashes broke out in the North West Delhi district during a Hanuman Jayanti procession, and was widely condemned for being a retaliatory act of vengeance.
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