A bulldozer arriving at Shaheen Bagh for the anti-encroachment drive by MCD, in New Delhi on Monday, May 9, 2022.
A bulldozer arriving at Shaheen Bagh for the anti-encroachment drive by MCD, in New Delhi on Monday, May 9, 2022.Anupam Gautam/IANS

Demolition drama in Delhi's Shaheen Bagh area

New Delhi, May 9, 2022

The national capital on Monday yet again witnessed a high-voltage demolition drama in the Shaheen Bagh area of the city, nearly 20 days after a similar drive was carried out in the communal violence-hit Jahangirpuri area of northwest Delhi.

It was officially learnt on May 4 that the South Delhi Municipal Corporation had planned a major drive against illegal encroachments in the south Delhi area and the illegal structures at Shaheen Bagh wouldd be demolished on May 9.

The day began with the presence of several mediapersons at Shaheen Bagh. However, this time, unlike Jahangirpuri, there was miniscule presence of the police before the demolition drive. The locals were anxious about what was going to happen.

Gradually, the corporation officials began arriving at the place where the proposed demolition was to take place. A JCB bulldozer and around 2-3 trucks also reached the spot to pick up the debris that would accumulate after the demolition. But as the drive was about to begin around 11.30 am, local leaders, including the workers of political parties, began protesting against the Municipal Corporation's proposed demolition.

The protestors stood atop a part of the bulldozer. Delhi Police personnel along with para military forces also arrived at the site in heavy numbers and removed the agitators who sat in front of the bulldozer. Women agitators were removed by women security personnel.

The police also detained several people, including political party workers, who were not allowing the Municipal Corporation staff to conduct the demolition drive. As the agitation was quelled, the JCB moved forward to demolish the illegal encroachment, an iron structure in front of a building. It was at this juncture that Aam Aadmi Party MLA Amanatullah Khan reached the spot and was seen speaking to the officials. The "illegal encroachment", an iron structure or a shuttering or formwork in front of the building, was then manually removed by the people even as a bulldozer stood by. The whole iron casing fell on the road with a loud thud and the encroachment was removed.

The locals said that the iron structure installed in front of the building was not an "illegal encroachment" but a shuttering. "It has been installed for the renovation of the building," a local told IANS.

While speaking to media persons, Khan expressed strong resentment against the SDMC over the demolition drive. The AAP MLA said he had himself inspected the whole area and spoken to every official, including the traffic police. "I had myself with my own JCB removed a toilet that was illegally constructed outside a mosque. This is just vendetta politics. Just tell me where the encroachment is. Tell me, I will remove it myself. I am the local MLA," said the AAP leader.

Even the residents told IANS that all the illegal structures in the area had already been removed by the people a few days back. The JCB bulldozer left the Shaheen Bagh area at around 1.15 pm marking the end of the demolition drive there.

Meanwhile, Delhi BJP president Adesh Gupta has strongly reacted to the development and demanded legal action against those who became a hurdle for the SDMC to discharge its duties.


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