An attempt by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) to remove encroachment on public land, right next to a 14th century monument, was halted amid high drama by protesting public in Hauz Khas village.
On Thursday, an MCD team had gone to demolish the illegal construction along with a team of Delhi police.
The construction was being carried out blatantly within a few feet of the compound wall of the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) protected Tomb of Firoz Shah.
A three-storey building is being constructed on public land just outside the boundary wall on the eastern side of the monument.
A senior ASI official, on conditions of anonymity, said the agency had lodged several complaints with the local police since the construction began.
“Last week too we approached the police. Senior officials from the civic body and the Delhi police did come but after some time they left without any action,” the official added.
Both MCD Deputy Commissioner of South Zone and Deputy Commissioner of Police were present on the spot around noun.
But soon after the action started, a large group of local people came to the spot and started heavy protest, including shouting and wailing.
“The Deputy Commissioner of MCD South Zone had planned action against encroachment on the public land and unauthorised construction at property No.9 A, Hauz Khas Village. The local police had also been informed in advance of the proposed action,” MCD Director Press and Information (Press and Information) Deep Mathur said.
“Despite stiff resistance from the crowd, the MCD managed to seal an unauthorisedly constructed floor. Meanwhile, keeping in view the law and order position, the Police advised to suspend the operation,” Mathur said.
The owners of the building assured the civic body that they would themselves remove the encroachment.
“The MCD officials had taken two bulldozers with necessary equipment and staff with them but the police force was found wanting in action,” Mathur said.
It was on the advice of the police, that the MCD temporarily suspended its operation.
The Director (press) said the MCD will again take up the action against encroachment and unauthorised construction in coming days as soon as adequate police force is made available.