Video Producer: Shohini Bose
Video Editor: Harpal Rawat
Days after communal clashes broke out in the locality between two groups during a Hanuman Jayanti procession on 16 April, an anti-encroachment drive was carried out in Delhi's Jahangirpuri on Wednesday, 20 April, by the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) citing "illegal encroachment" on the roads.
The demolition drive continued for over an hour even after the Supreme Court ordered for it to be stopped. The apex court ordered the maintenance of the status quo, effectively staying the drive till the court heard the matter.
The gate of a mosque in the violence-hit locality was also demolished. Tin roofs and alleged encroachments outside shops attached to the mosque were also razed.
Demolition Drive Continued Even After SC Order
The anti-encroachment drive continued for over an hour after the Supreme Court's order on Wednesday.
"The anti-encroachment drive will be stopped as soon as we have received the Supreme Court order," North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) Mayor Raja Iqbal Singh had been quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
Upon receiving a complaint from advocate Dushyant Dave over the continuing of the drive, Chief Justice of India NV Ramana had asked the Supreme Court Registry to communicate the status quo order to the concerned authorities immediately.
Over 400 Delhi Police Personnel Were Present
Over 400 Delhi Police personnel, scores of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel, and over 1,000 officers of paramilitary forces were stationed in the locality ahead of the drive.
Special Commissioner of Police Dependra Pathak said, "Let the civic body (North Delhi Municipal Corporation) take a decision... we are here to provide support and protection to the civic agency."
District Commissioner of Police (DCP) (North West) Usha Rangnani was also present.
Shops That Had Been in Jahangirpuri for 20 Years, Had DDA Approval, Removed: Locals
Ganesh Kumar Gupta, a local of Jahangirpuri, resisted and stood in front a bulldozer before the MCD demolished a part of his shop, Gupta Juice Corner. He also showed the documents of approval by the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) from 1977 and the receipts of the property taxes that were duly paid.
Recently, after communal unrest broke out during a Ram Navami procession in Madhya Pradesh's Khargone, the local administration undertook a demolition drive in areas where the violence had erupted. As many as 16 houses and 29 shops were demolished by the district administration.
Delhi BJP President Demanded Demolition
Earlier on Tuesday, Delhi BJP President Adesh Gupta had asked North MCD Mayor Raja Iqbal for the identification and demolition of "illegal encroachment" and construction by those arrested in the Jahangirpuri violence.
Referring to the accused in connection with Saturday's violence who he called "anti-social elements" and "rioters", Gupta claimed that they have the support of local AAP MLA and councillor. As a result, these people have "done large-scale encroachment," the Delhi BJP president had alleged.
"Therefore, illegal encroachment done by these rioters should be identified and there should be bulldozers run over it," he added.
Later, North Delhi Mayor, Raja Iqbal Singh, confirmed the encroachment removal drive, saying that illegal construction, and encroachment on government land in Jahangirpuri will be removed on Wednesday by North MCD.
He added that to avoid any mishap in the area, "especially in the wake of recent violence, we have also demanded police force (deployment)."
25 Arrested in Connection With Jahangirpuri Violence
As many as 25 people have been arrested in connection with the violence that took place on Saturday during a Hanuman Jayanti procession. Two juveniles have been apprehended as well, taking the total number nabbed to 27.
Nine persons, including eight police personnel and one civilian, were injured and were being treated in a hospital.
On Monday, Delhi Police Commissioner Rakesh Asthana had said that action will be taken against those involved irrespective of their class, creed, or community.
Meanwhile, Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday directed Delhi Police officials to take strict action against the culprits.