A JCB bulldozer, brought in for Monday’s anti-encroachment drive in Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh, has now left the area and moved towards Sarita Vihar. The ‘illegal encroachment’ i.e. an iron structure or a shuttering or formwork in front of a building was manually removed by people even as the JCB bulldozer stood by during the proposed demolition drive.
However, the situation remained tense as the area was jam-packed with hundreds of people moving around. Police, along with para military forces, could also be seen moving forward, at the time of filing this report.
Meanwhile, Aam Aadmi Party MLA Amanatullah Khan, who was also on the spot, interacted with the officials; people raised slogans in favour of the AAP MLA.
While speaking to the media, Khan stated that he had himself inspected the whole area and spoken to every official, including the traffic police. “I had, 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. If still there is an illegal structure. Tell me, I will myself remove it. I am the local MLA,” the AAP MLA said.
Even the locals said that all the illegal structures in the area were already removed by the people just a few days back.
Notably, Monday’s demolition drive comes 19 days after a similar drive was conducted in the communal violence-hit Jahangirpuri area of the city. In that drive, several illegal structures, including cold drink booths and shops, were demolished.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court Monday refused to entertain a plea filed by the CPI(M) against the demolition drive in Shaheen Bagh, saying it cannot interfere with the anti-encroachment drive at the instance of a political party.
A bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao and B R Gavai asked the party to approach the Delhi High Court. “Why is 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.
The top court said if hawkers are encroaching, they will be removed and in case there is any violation of law by authorities, the petitioner can go to the High Court.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said the facts are being misrepresented. “This is a process which has been going on for long, a routine exercise after serving notice,” he said.
When senior advocate P Surendranath, appearing for the CPI(M), referred to the apex court’s recent orders on Jahangirpuri where the demolition drive was stayed, the bench said let the affected parties come.
“We have not given license to anybody to come here to say my house cannot be demolished even if it is unauthorized. You cannot take shelter of that order. We cannot interfere…that too at the instance of political parties,” the bench said.