Families protested, a few women fainted and teary-eyed children stood bewildered as a joint team of the district administration and the Indore Municipal Corporation (IMC) razed twenty-two illegal houses at Patel Nagar in Khajrana on Thursday.
In all, 58 illegal constructions were slated for demolition during the joint exercise, but officials decided not to pull down inhabited houses and only demolish those that were under construction, official sources said.
A woman cop brings out a child from a house during anti-encroachment drive at Patel Nagar in Indore on Thursday. (Amit K Jaiswal/HT photo)
Earlier, a large number of people gathered at the site as the team reached there, in a bid to prevent the demolition. High drama ensued soon after. At least one woman fell down after fainting and a couple of youths were carried away after the police used mild force following minor stone pelting.
Several persons fell down in the melee and received lathi blows as they tried to crawl away. The extent of injuries was not known, however. Women residents jostled with lady constables as they joined menfolk in a failed bid to save their homes.
"We spent all of our savings and even borrowed from relatives to build this house. Now it’s all gone," said a man, who identified himself only as Mohammed.
While some were furious at the authorities, others, apparently resigned, just sat quietly and watched the iron claws of the JCB sink into the buildings.
A little girl in a green suit sobbed as a lady constable tried to pull her up to her feet, while another girl was carried away unhurt on the outside but clearly suffering from great mental trauma.
Sub-divisional magistrate D Nagendra said the structures were knocked down as they were coming up in violation of a high court directive. "The HC ordered a status quo on the land but despite this the houses were being built so they were demolished," he added.
In response to a question he said the people living in the remaining houses would be given additional time by the IMC.
Three SDMs as well as deputy municipal commissioner Mahndra Singh Chouhan, IMC engineer Mahesh Sharma and a sizeable police contingent were present during the demolition that lasted nearly four hours.