Demolition Drive 'Attack on Poor': Maken; Also 'Selective', Adds Brinda Karat

Karat said the drive was 'selective', especially in the choice of those who were being punished.

4 min read
Hindi Female

Congress General Secretary Ajay Maken, who led a party delegation to north-west Delhi's Jahangirpuri on Thursday, 21 April, said the demolition drive by the city's civic body "should not be seen from the prism of religion," and called it "an attack on poor people."

Meanwhile, Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Brinda Karat said that while Maken was right in calling it "anti-poor," this drive was also "selective" and targeted a particular community.

An anti-encroachment drive had been initiated in Jahangirpuri on Wednesday, four days after clashes had broken out between two communities in the area on Hanuman Jayanti.

A Congress delegation comprising 15 leaders such as Maken, MP Shakti Singh Gohil, and Delhi Congress chief Anil Chaudhary, visited Jahangirpuri on Thursday.

They were stopped by the police from going to the area where the anti-encroachment drive was conducted by the North MCD. Maken cited MCD rules and said it was illegal to carry out the anti-encroachment drive without giving a notice.

"This (demolition drive) should not be seen from the prism of religion. It is an attack on the poor people. They are not Hindus or Muslims or Sikhs, or Christians. The Congress party stands with them. We have come here to tell the victims that we stand with them," Maken told reporters on Thursday.

'Drive Was Selective, Targets a Particular Community': Karat

CPI (M) leader Brinda Karat told The Quint that while Maken was right in calling it "anti-poor", this drive was also "selective, especially in the choice of those who were being punished".

"It's correct to say it's anti-poor. It is anti-poor, particularly at a time when people are struggling to find a livelihood. To destroy their livelihood in the way it was done was definitely anti-poor. However, along with it being anti-poor, it was selective, especially in the choice of those who were being punished. Although such structures exist throughout Jahangirpuri, (they) specifically targeted C-block because most people who live there are Muslims. It was anti-poor, undoubtedly. But along with it being anti-poor, it was selective, and this is the agenda being driven by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Sangh Parivar," Karat told The Quint.

Karat's Question for AAP Government

Karat, who has filed a petition challenging the demolition in Jahangirpuri, also posed a question for Delhi's Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

"Did the Delhi government give permission to the Public Works Department (PWD) engineers under the Delhi government to be a part of the joint demolition drive? Were officials under the Delhi government part of the drive? If so, who gave them that permission?" she questioned.

'Highly Objectionable': Karat on AAP Leaders' 'Rohingyas and Bangladeshis' Comment

Karat also called AAP leaders' 'Bangladeshis and Rohingyas' comment 'highly objectionable'.

AAP MP Raghav Chadha on Wednesday had claimed that the "BJP had settled Bangladeshis and Rohingyas in many pockets so that they could use them to create unrest."

"If you want to know where the BJP is planning its next riots, ask them where they have settled Bangladeshis, then you will know," he said. The same was later reiterated by AAP's chief spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj.

Talking about the same, Karat said, "First of all, this is the BJP justification for an illegal act. And for AAP leaders to speak in the same language is highly objectionable."

"In C-Block Jahangirpuri, where they have an MLA, to even make such a sweeping statement and call Indian citizens Rohingyas and Bangladeshis is highly objectionable. It means you don't have rights as Indian citizens and whatever happens with you is fine. They are completely misleading the public. And secondly, have some humanity. Is this the way you treat human beings?" she added.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court on Thursday issued notice to North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) and others on a plea against the demolition drive in Jahangirpuri while ordering status quo to be maintained in the matter for two weeks.


What Happened on Wednesday?

Soon after the eviction process was initiated using bulldozers, the Supreme Court had ordered the maintenance of the status quo as regards the NDMC's encroachment drive in Jahangirpuri, Delhi, effectively staying it.

However, the drive had continued for over an hour after the apex court pronounced its order.

The gate of a mosque in the violence-hit district was also demolished by the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) on Wednesday. In addition, tin roofs and alleged encroachments outside shops attached to the mosque were also demolished.

The court order came after some vending carts, shops, and other allegedly illegally constructions were destroyed by bulldozers during the anti-encroachment drive. The gate of a mosque was also pulled down after the order was pronounced.

Over 400 Delhi Police personnel had been deployed in Jahangirpuri on Wednesday, and forces of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) were also stationed.

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