The villagers of Tughlaqabad — served eviction notices by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) — have now pinned their hopes on the Supreme Court hearing on October 12, hoping the judges will come to their rescue.
After the Supreme Court vacated a stay on the demolition, the ASI, on Friday, served notices on villagers to evict the land, putting them in a quandary.
A population of nearly 70,000 is likely to be affected with the ASI's action.The ASI had notified four structures in the area in the 1920s, with the village falling between the Tughlaqabad Fort and the wall of the old city of Tughlaqabad in and around the village, set up by Muhammed-bin-Tughlaq in the 14th century when Tughlaqabad fort was built.
“Not an inch of the ASI-notified structures in the area has been encroached upon,” said Ramvir Singh Bidhuri, a former MLA.
In 1968, Delhi's then Lieutenant Governor, AN Jha, had approved a re-development plan for the Tughlaqabad village. In 1995, the Delhi government had transferred around 2,800 bighas of the village land to the ASI.
When ASI had served similar notices, LJP leader Ram Vilas Paswan had asked the Parliament in 2003: “How can the Delhi government transfer land that is not under its jurisdiction?”
The then culture minister Jagmohan had promised that no structure apart from that existed as per 1993 aerial survey would be demolished.
Ramesh Bidhuri, area's current MLA, said, “The Supreme Court is to hear our side on October 12. We plan to hire a lawyer and seek a date prior to October 12 in an attempt to stop the ASI's action.”
Dr BR Mani, ASI's spokesperson, said, “All the areas outside Lal Dora where unauthorised construction has come up is illegal.”