New Delhi: The anti-encroachment drive in Northwest Delhi’s Jahangirpuri is intended to clear pavements, footpaths and roads that have been “illegally occupied” and “will not involve demolition of any buildings”, the North Delhi civic body said as its order triggered fear among residents of the locality.
It also clarified that the Jahangirpuri assignment has been given to the anti-encroachment wing of the municipal corporation, which “does not have the right” to engage in demolitions.
The demolition drive, which continued despite the Supreme Court ordering a status quo on the move, comes days after the area witnessed communal clashes during a Hanuman Jayanti procession.
“The two-day drive starts around Wednesday noon. It is being done by the anti-encroachment wing of the municipal corporation. It is only supposed to clear pavements, footpaths and roads of illegal encroachment. The locality (Jahangirpuri) has a scrap market and most pavements and roads, especially around the market area, have been illegally occupied by shops,” a senior officer in the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) told ThePrint Wednesday.
“As per the briefing given to officers on Tuesday, the drive will not involve demolition of any buildings. In Delhi, the demolition of illegal buildings is done by the Building and Engineering Wing of the municipal corporations… However, there is widespread fear in the area and untoward incidents are possible during the drive. So, we have sought police presence,” another senior NDMC official said.
NDMC Mayor Raja Iqbal Singh Wednesday morning informed that “illegal construction, encroachment on government land” in Jahangirpuri would be removed.
“To avoid any mishap in the area, especially in the wake of recent violence, we have also demanded police force (deployment),” the mayor said.
The Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled North Delhi Municipal Corporation in Delhi scheduled an anti-encroachment drive on Wednesday and Thursday in Jahangirpuri, soon after Delhi BJP president Adesh Gupta wrote to the Mayor of the civic body to identify the illegal construction of “rioters” in the area and demolish them using bulldozers.
It led to widespread fear among residents in the area in the light of similar demolition taking place after communal violence in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, both being BJP-ruled states.
While the Delhi government is under the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the municipal corporations in the national capital are ruled by the BJP.
Criticising the anti-encroachment drive in Jahangirpuri, AAP MLA Amanatullah Khan said in a video message on social media Wednesday: “Amit Shah and BJP want to spoil the peaceful atmosphere of Delhi in the month of Ramzan, using MCD, now a new order has been issued to bulldoze in Jahangirpuri in the name of encroachment and harass a particular community. The atmosphere will be ruined.”