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Bulldozers return from Shaheen Bagh without demolition after protests

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Hemant Waje
Last updated on: May 09, 2022 17:20 IST
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Protests erupted at Delhi's Shaheen Bagh on Monday with hundreds of people, including women, opposing an anti-encroachment drive of the South Delhi Municipal Corporation as bulldozers rolled into the area in the presence of a huge number of police personnel, even as the civic body team was forced to return without carrying out the exercise..

IMAGE: Locals stage a protest during an anti-encroachment drive by Municipal Corporation of Delhi at Shaheen Bagh. Photograph: Arun Sharma/PTI Photo

Following the protest, the SDMC officials, who were part of the anti-encroachment drive, returned with bulldozers without conducting the exercise, an official said.

Protesters raised slogans against the Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled South Delhi Municipal Corporation as well as the central government and demanded that the action should be stopped.

Some women protestors also stood in front of bulldozers to prevent the exercise.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court refused to entertain a plea filed by the Communist Party of India-Marxist against the demolition drive at Shaheen Bagh, saying it cannot interfere in the matter at the instance of a political party.


A bench of justices L Nageswara Rao and BR Gavai asked the Left party to approach the Delhi high court instead.

"Why is the CPI-M filing a petition? What is the fundamental right that is being violated? Not at the behest of political parties. This is not the platform. You go to the high court," the bench said.

Earlier in the day, leaders of the Aam Aadmi Party and the Congress reached the spot and staged a dharna.

The protest also caused heavy traffic snarls in Shaheen Bagh, Kalindi Kunj, Jaitpur, Sarita Vihar and Mathura Road among other areas.

SDMC's Central Zone Chairman Rajpal Singh told PTI that the illegal structures could not be removed due to protests.

In December 2019, Shaheen Bagh was the centre of protests and sit-ins against Citizenship (Amendment) Act.

The sit-in was called off in March 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic had struck the city.

IMAGE: Security personnel attempt to stop locals staging a protest in front of a Municipal Corporation of Delhi bulldozer at Shaheen Bagh. Photograph: Arun Sharma/PTI Photo

Last month, an anti-encroachment drive conducted by the North Delhi Municipal Corporation in Jahangirpuri area, which witnessed violence between two communities on April 16, drew widespread criticism. The Supreme Court had to intervene to stop the action there.

Singh said that removing encroachment from any area is our obligatory function which the civic body is doing.

"Protests being held are politically-motivated. We will do whatever we have to remove encroachment. Our bulldozers and trucks are still there (in Shaheen Bagh)," Singh told PTI.

Senior police officials were also present at the spot along with their personnel to provide security to SDMC officials to carry out the anti-encroachment drive in the area.

"Police personnel have been deployed at the spot where the anti-encroachment drive is being carried out. This is being done to ensure that the concerned civic bodies can carry out their work without any hassle and with all safety," a senior police official said.

Paramilitary forces were also deployed to manage the situation, officials said.

As South MCD officials with bulldozers reached Shaheen Bagh, some locals started removing their "illegal structures".

Akbar, 40-year-old shopkeeper at Kalindi Kunj main road in Shaheen Bagh, said, "Bulldozers had come in the morning around 11:30 to this area, but they left as there were no such encroachments here. People were told and they removed their carts. There was nothing to be removed. Bulldozers left without doing anything."

Delhi Congress leaders, including party's media cell vice chairman Parvez Alam, were among those detained by the police.

IMAGE:  Locals stage a protest in front of a bulldozer. Photograph: Arun Sharma/PTI Photo

Delhi BJP Chief Adesh Gupta criticised the Congress and AAP for "opposing anti encroachment drive" in Shaheen Bagh.

"Today it's proved that AAP and it's MLAs are supporting Rohingyas and Bangladeshis. Those who are lying before bulldozers will be given a reply by the people. It's unfortunate that AAP and Congress are opposing removal of encroachment in Shaheen Bagh. I urge AAP and Congress not to link encroachment with religion," he said.

The protests led to traffic snarls in the area.

The traffic police assisted the local police to ensure that the commuters were not inconvenienced and traffic diversions were made accordingly.

"The heavy vehicles were first diverted and an alternative route was suggested for such vehicles. Our men were deployed at the spots where congestions were reported to ensure that no inconvenience was caused to the commuters. We diverted all the vehicles going towards Shaheen Bagh towards GD Birla Marg via Kalindi Kunj and then towards Crown Plaza and vice versa," a senior traffic police officer said.

The plan for anti-encroachment drive comes after Gupta wrote to the mayors of South and East corporations on April 20 seeking the removal of encroachments "by Rohingyas, Bangladeshis and anti-social elements" in their areas.

A drive was planned at Okhla and Jasola last month, but could not be executed due to the unavailability of police personnel, Singh said.

He added that the civic body plans to carry out an anti-encroachment drive near Gurdwara Road at New Friends Colony on Tuesday, while a similar exercise is planned at Meharchand Market in Lodhi Colony, near the Sai Baba Mandir and the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium metro station, on May 11.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Hemant Waje© Copyright 2022 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
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