A fact finding team on Thursday said that the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) along with large number of police force demolished over two dozen houses without any prior notice in south west Delhi’s Kharak Riwara Satbari area, a predominantly Muslim locality on Friday (21 October) when Muslims went to offer namaz.
On Thursday, a group of activists visited the area which falls in Chhatarpur’s Fatehpur Beri and learnt that the DDA carried out the demolition drive by using brutal force against the residents.
“In order to force the issue, the Delhi Police resorted to lathi charge injuring several people including women, and male policemen shamelessly manhandled the protesting women residents. The residents of the demolished houses were not even given time to rescue their household goods. The DDA officers have threatened to come back with bulldozers after Diwali and demolish more houses,” said the team in a statement.
The team was consisted of activists from various rights groups; Akash Bhattacharya from All India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU), Anupradha from All India Lawyers for Justice (AILAJ), Naushad Ahmed Raza from All India Student Association (AISA), and Suman Ghosh from All India Progressive Women Association (AIPWA).
Talking to Maktoob, Anupradha said that women were brutally beaten up by male police personnel and several women got seriously injured. One woman was taken to the police station and detained for some hours.
“All women were saying that when they asked for taking out their household appliances, they were not allowed to do so. When the residents asked for any demolition order or notice, they were not shown any such thing. Demolitions were carried out after beating up the residents…the police force was deployed in massive numbers,” said Anupradha.
The activists have learnt that the authorities were claiming that the land belongs to some private dealer company. The court had reportedly ordered to survey the land as to whom the land belongs to and to what extent the land was encroached.
“No survey has been conducted so far. No process was followed,” said Anupradha.
In regard to the demolition, this correspondent has seen an order passed by the Delhi High Court in 2019 directing the authorities to remove the unauthorized constructions as per the law.
But the team said the residents were threatened to be subjected to the bulldozer action as taken by Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath in his state.
The police demolished the houses during the time of Friday prayers. They even told the residents that they would face the kind of bulldozing that Muslims of Uttar Pradesh are having to deal with, under the Yogi government.
Notably, the local MLA Kartar Singh Tanwar, belonging to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) also refused to intervene on behalf of the residents.
Terming the DDA’s action as “anti-Muslim” and “anti-poor”, CPI ML (Communist Party of India Marxist-Leninist) (Liberation) has condemned the DDA’s refusal to serve any prior notice to give the residents a chance to approach the court and seek a stay.
“We also condemn the brutal police action. We demand that there should be no further demolition without prior notice, due compensation should be given to the victims of this sudden demolition, and the guilty policemen should be punished,” said the Delhi chapter of the CPI ML (Liberation).