The police have registered cases against 59 persons and lodged FIRs against 1,200 persons a day after violence broke out on National Highway-24. But no arrests have been made so far.
Over 5,000 residents from several unauthorised colonies of Rahul Vihar, Budh Vihar and Chijarsi clashed with police and resorted to large-scale violence on Saturday.
Over 24 vehicles were damaged, including UP Roadways buses, private buses, trucks, cars and others after they were set on fire by the unruly mob which blocked the highway for over six hours.
The mob resorted to violence as they feared their colonies near Hindon river would be demolished as Irrigation Construction Division (ICD) officials were marking a ‘flood-zone’ of 400 metres on both sides of the river.
Although official figures of loss of public and private property are still under assessment, police said it might be around Rs. 1 crore. Commissioner (Meerut Range), IG Police, district administration and police officials from Ghaziabad and Noida took stock of the situation on Sunday.
“We are trying to locate the exact ownership of the land and also trying to find out how electricity connections and registries were made in their name. The District Magistrate will conduct an inquiry,” said Shravan Kumar Sharma, Commissioner (Meerut Range).
The officials had no answers as to how construction of around 5,000 houses along the river bank were allowed to come up without consideration of environmental hazards.
“The river, which had been reduced to a drain, has to be saved. No construction should have been allowed within 400 metres on its sides. Large areas along the banks of river-Hindon have also been encroached. But the registries of such land continue unabated without verification,” said Vijay Pal Baghel, an environment activist.
“We are responsible for collection of stamp duty only,” said Additional District Magistrate (ADM-finance) Sarvjeet Ram.
Although no demolitions were intended on Saturday in Budh Vihar, Rahul Vihar and Chijarsi, the problem of encroachments, un-authorised constructions on government and public land continues unabated.
“More than 50 per cent of the city would come down if unauthorised constructions were removed,” the ADM added.
SSP Akhil Kumar said the police would soon ensure the arrest of the culprits.
Police have booked the 1,200 plus rioters under sections 336, 307, 147, 148, 149, 504, 506 of IPC and also under 7 Criminal Law Amendment Act and several companies of Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) have been deployed in the area affected along the NH-24, the SSP said.