'Cops Didn't Let Us Move Our Carts': Jahangirpuri Residents on Demolition Drive
This comes days after communal clashes broke out in Jahangirpuri during a Hanuman Jayanti procession on 16 April.
Several carts and shops, claimed to be illegal, were demolished by bulldozers during an anti-encroachment drive conducted by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) in Jahangirpuri on Wednesday, 20 April.
This comes days after communal clashes broke out in the North West Delhi district during a Hanuman Jayanti procession on 16 April.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday morning issued stay orders regarding the encroachment drive, at least until the matter was ready to be taken up by the court.
The Quint spoke to a number of residents whose shops and carts were demolished on Wednesday.
'My Shop Was Demolished 10 Mins Before the SC's Order'
Rokiya, a Jahangirpuri resident whose seekh kebab cart was demolished by the MCD, said that she wasn't allowed to go out of her lane to bring the cart in.
"I requested the police to let me take my cart in, but they refused saying that whatever is lying outside will be broken," the 30-year-old said, adding that her shop was demolished just 10 minutes before the Supreme Court issued a stay order.
Holding up the licence given to her to run the cart, she said, "The licence was given to me by the authorities with the guarantee that my shop will not be removed if I show it to them as proof, in case somebody came inquiring."
Rokiya also said that she used to earn Rs 500 daily because of the cart. "I have three children. I don't have anything to do now as I am unemployed," she added.
Policeman Said His Job Would Be in Danger if He Allowed Me To Remove My Cart: Jahangirpuri Resident
Another resident named Rehana said that she had spent Rs 80,000 on her poori sabzi steel cart, which was demolished by the MCD personnel on Wednesday.
"I used to run the cart from 6 am to 1 pm everyday," the 44-year-old said. "My husband is unable to work as he has been suffering from diabetes for the last 17 years,” she added.
Just like Rokiya, Rehana was also denied permission by the authorities to remove her cart ahead of the demolition drive, claiming that a police officer told her that his job would be in danger if he permitted her to do so.
"A policeman told me that he cannot permit me to remove my cart as he was answerable to his superiors and doing so may cost him his job," she said.
Rehana added that her cart earned her around Rs 400-500 daily. "I have three daughters and two sons. My earnings were extremely important to take care of them, especially considering my husband's illness. I also have to get my eldest daughter married,“ she told The Quint.
'Police Could Have Prevented the Clash': Farid Ahmad
Farid Ahmad used to run a chicken fry cart in the area. He claimed that his shop was taken away by the authorities instead of being demolished.
"When I saw on the news that the authorities were coming to conduct a demolition drive in the area, I tried to move my cart, but the police didn't permit me to step outside my lane," Ahmad told The Quint, adding that no official notice was provided to him by the MCD.
Ahmad added that he was present at his shop the day the clash occurred in Jahangirpuri on 16 April. He said that there were very few policemen ahead of the rally, and that the clash could have been prevented if the police wanted.
Loss of 7-8 Lakhs Incurred, Had Official Papers: Juice Shop Owner
Dilip Saxena, who used to run a juice shop named Delhi Fruit Juice and Sugarcane Juice, said, "I have an MCD licence for my shop and I even pay house tax on it," while showing his papers to The Quint.
He also made an appeal to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying that only unauthorised shops should have been broken. "Why was my shop, which is authorised, demolished by the MCD?" the shop owner asked, adding that he had incurred a loss of around 7-8 lakh because of the demolition.
He also claimed that when he arrived with all the papers as proof, the police did not let him enter. "Who wants to get beaten by the police's lathi?" he said.
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