In absence of adequate police force during a drive to demolish illegal structures, the municipal corporation (MC) were pelted with stones by a strong mob, leaving several officials injured on Saturday.
An assistant sub-inspector of MC and two other employees were injured in the attack, while three JCB machines and two Gypsy cars were damaged severely by the mob.
Acting on the high court's order, an MC team, including officials of building branch and tehbazari wing, reached Paviter Nagar in Haibowal around 11am to remove illegal constructions over Sem Nullah. MC had sent several notices to owners of more than 80 structures built illegally on the nullah.
Interestingly, the demolition drive was confidential and even the assistant town planners of all four MC zones had no information of areas to be visited during the drive. However, as soon as the MC teams, with nearly 80 officials, three JCB machines and other vehicles, reached the spot, residents, including women, started pelting them with bricks.
Officials had to run to save their lives in absence of adequate police officials and riot-control vehicles. The MC had asked the district police to provide 300 cops for the drive, but only 50 were sent. The team took along 40 policemen of MC that made the total number 90.
The area lies in Zone D of MC under assistant town planner Rajinder Sharma, who was also present on the spot. Sharma said bricks hit several MC officials, adding that there were at least 400 attackers.
MC commissioner Rahul Tewari said he had written to police commissioner requesting adequate security for the drive. "Only 50 police personnel were allotted against the required 300. No anti-riot vehicle or water cannons were provided that left MC officials vulnerable in the middle of the attack."
He said an FIR would be lodged against protesters who injured the MC officials. "I have written a letter to the police commissioner to book the attackers," Tewari added.
Mayor Harcharan Singh Gohalwaria said though the drive was confidential, surprisingly residents were prepared for it. "It is obvious that there was leakage of information. How come the residents were prepared with bricks to protest the MC?" he questioned.
Congress MLA Bharat Bhushan Ashu said demolition drive during harsh winters was an atrocity on the public. He said people living in illegal constructions on a nullah could be allotted land somewhere else, like slum dwellers were provided flats as per Supreme Court's directions.