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'Did Not Target Any Community': Delhi Civic Body on Jahangirpuri Demolition

The Supreme Court was hearing the petitions challenging the drive.

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Politics
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The demolition drive conducted by the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) at Delhi's Jahangirpuri on 20 April did not raze any "house" and wasn't targeting any community, the BJP-led civic body told the Supreme Court on Monday, 9 May.

The top court was hearing the petitions challenging the drive, which took place days after clashes broke out in North West Delhi during a Hanuman Jayanti procession. They were filed by Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind, a Muslim organisation, and the CPM.

Dubbing the allegations put forth by the petitioners as "blatant falsehood," the civic body said that action should be taken against the litigants, reported NDTV.

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'There Is No Need To Issue Advance Notice for Such Actions'

The North Delhi's civic body said in its affidavit that "only projections on the public road, unauthorised temporary structures, and shops were removed as part of the drive." Buildings were not touched, it said, adding that they removed garbage sacks and structures located well beyond the houses.

Responding to the petitioners' allegation that no prior notice was issued, the civic body said that there was no need for such notice according to provisions of the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act. It further accused the petitioners of "sensationalising" the issue by suppressing the facts.

On the allegation that the drive continued even after the Supreme Court ordered to maintain the status quo, the civic body said that until the authorities were shown the court's stay order, such drives could continue.

"It is always a common experience that whenever the law enforcing agencies exercise their powers of removal of unauthorized projections and other encroachments under Section 322 of the Act, the affected parties mislead the authorities by wrongly contending that there is a stay by the court," the civic body told the court, reported NDTV.

The drive, it said, was stopped after their legal consultant verified the apex court's order. Encroachers whose structures were removed are now back on the footpath, despite the supreme court order, it alleged.

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Background

An anti-encroachment drive was carried out in Jahangirpuri on the morning of Wednesday, 20 April, with the razing continuing for an hour even after the Supreme Court ordered its halting. The apex court ordered the maintenance of the status quo as regards the NDMC's encroachment drive in Jahangirpuri, Delhi, effectively staying the drive till the court can take up the matter.

The gate of a mosque in the violence-hit district was also demolished by the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) on Wednesday. Tin roofs and alleged encroachments outside shops attached to the mosque were also demolished. The apex court's order came after some vending carts, shops, and other allegedly illegally constructions were destroyed by bulldozers.

(With inputs from NDTV.)

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