The under-construction houses that were razed by a joint team of Indore Municipal Corporation and district administration at Patel Nagar in Khajrana on Thursday were owned by the people of lower middle class who do not have permanent jobs or a steady income.
In all, 14 houses were demolished by the anti-encroachment team amid protests from families affected by the drive.
Ill -informed, the people were possibly duped by the coloniser into purchasing plots on government land, officials said. At present, the government is fighting a legal battle for ownership of the land in court.
The high court earlier ruled that a status quo should be maintained till further orders.
But the people, apparently unaware of the matter, were constructing new houses on the disputed land, following which the administration acted. According to officials, none of the people who purchased plots had registered them to save money and merely had a power of attorney over the plot.
Had they tried to get it registered, the registry office would have informed them that it was ceiling land.
There is anger against the administration for the anti-encroachment drive and also against the coloniser.
"We were served a notice just a day before the officials came to raze the houses. This is not justice. Why has the administration not taken action against the person who sold the land illegally?” said Mohammad Mushtaq, a labourer, whose house was demolished on Thursday.
A total of 58 illegal constructions were identified for the demolition, but later it was decided that only 14 houses which were under construction be demolished.
Additional district magistrate (ADM) Alok Singh made it clear that as of now the administration was not planning any action against the coloniser, as a court case was going on. "The people who feel they have been cheated can move court against the coloniser," the ADM said.
Sources said the coloniser who had sold the land to the people called a meeting and assured them that he would return their money.
"We have been assured by the coloniser that money will be returned but we have no faith in him. We will decide how to go against the coloniser," said another resident.
However, people feel that the administration should also act against the coloniser.
"Action should be taken against illegal colonisers in the city. How can they illegally sell the land to poor people? All the residents of this locality had spent all their lives to built a house and it was razed in an hour; this is injustice," said Babbu, a resident of the locality.