iconimg Friday, August 28, 2015

Nivedita Khandekar, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, October 01, 2011
Thousands of residents of Tughlaqabad village are spending sleepless nights in the wake of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) issuing notices, asking them to evict the place within seven days.

The ASI notice, pasted at several places in the village, comes after the Supreme Court recently vacated a stay by the Delhi high court on demolition activity in the vicinity of the ASI-protected Tughlaqabad Fort.

The ASI officials pasted notices at public places in the village on Friday, asking them to vacate the place. A visit to the village was evident enough of peoples’ anger on the move.

More than 70,000 people will be affected if the ASI goes ahead with the proposed action. Almost all households claimed that their families have been residing in the village since the 14th century when Muhammed Tughlaq, eldest son of Ghiyas ud-Din Tughlaq, built the Tughlaqabad fort.
In 1995, the Delhi government transferred approximately 2,800 bighas of village land to the ASI. In 2001, when the ASI attempted to evict people claiming that they were encroachers on government land, the villagers had approached the Delhi High Court, which gave a stay. The court had, however, exempted Lal Dora land, which is about 100-odd bighas.
“What hurts us is the fact that the government is terming us as encroachers,” said Ramvir Singh Bidhuri, also a former MLA.

Prakash Fauji, an ex-serviceman, dares the ASI to take a step, “Marenge aur maarenge (We will die for our land, we will fight for our land).”
“We will have to go as per the court order. (After seven days) we will inform the civic agency and also requisition police for carrying out action,” said KK Muhammed, ASI's Delhi chief.

The villagers now plan to approach the Supreme Court, besides also appeal to Delhi’s lieutenant governor.