Bulldozers on Monday rolled into Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh, for an anti-encroachment drive that was halted when local residents, politicians, and MLA Amanatullah Khan declared that “there are no illegal structures” in the locality.
The South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) was set to carry out a demolition drive today at Shaheen Bagh, the centre of the historic protest against the discriminatory citizenship law, CAA.
The Delhi Police will provide security for the demolition drive that will commence in Shaheen Bagh on Monday, DCP (south-east) Esha Pandey earlier said.
“Municipality will do its work; our workers & 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,” ANI quoted Rajpal, Chairman standing committee, SDMC central zone as saying.
Local residents of Shaheen Bagh and supporters of the Congress, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) and Bhim Army stood in front of a bulldozer, that arrived to carry out the demolition drive and raised slogans.
Parvez Alam of Congress was detained for protesting in front of the bulldozer.
Joining the locals in protesting the anti-encroachment drive in Shaheen Bagh, AAP MLA Amanatullah Khan said people had removed their encroachments at his 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?” he asked.
Locals alleged that the demolition drive targets the Muslim community.
The anti-encroachment drive at Shaheen Bagh has been halted after the protests.
It remains unclear whether the drive will resume.
The South Delhi Municipal Corporation’s anti-encroachment drives in the Kalindi Kunj-Jamia Nagar area near Shaheen Bagh and in Sriniwaspuri were cancelled last week till Friday due to the unavailability of an adequate police force.
Delhi BJP chief Adesh Gupta had written to the civic body’s mayor last month, demanding removal of encroachment by “Rohingya, Bangladeshis and anti-social elements”.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court on Monday refused to entertain a plea by the CPI(M) against demolition of buildings in the area and asked the petitioner to approach the Delhi High Court on the matter.
The apex court highlighted that it cannot intervene on any matter and there needs to be a violation of law for it to step in.