DDA demolishes illegal structures in east Delhi
The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) on Wednesday carried out an anti-encroachment drive in east Delhi’s Khichripur village near Kalyanpuri, during which an Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLA was detained by the Delhi Police for trying to block the bulldozers.
DDA officials said the demolition drive was intended to clear five acres of encroached land. “During the drive, 1.2 acres of land could be cleared. Action was taken against five-six big buildings,” said an official.
Encroachment removal drives, otherwise a routine function, have come under the scanner after the North MCD’s controversial demolition drive in Jahangirpuri on April 20, days after communal clashes were reported from the area. Opposition parties blamed the BJP, which rules the three municipal corporations, for allegedly targeting a particular community, an allegation the party and the civic bodies have denied.
Delhi chief minister and AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal has already directed his party workers to act against “bulldozer drives” carried out by the agencies.
Senior DDA officials said they were following a Delhi high court order to clear five acres of encroached land. “The land has been under encroachment since long and the high court has directed DDA to take possession of the land forthwith,” said a senior DDA official, adding that the high court has rejected applications to stay the demolition filed by the property owners, who were illegally occupying the space.
In an order dated May 6, DDA officials said, the court questioned the DDA for not taking possession of the land since 2019. “The demolition programme on the land under reference was scheduled thrice but couldn’t be carried out due to non-availability of sufficient police force,” DDA said in a statement.
On allegations that no prior notice was given by DDA about the drive, a senior DDA official said, “Since the land belongs to DDA, there is no need to give prior notice.”
AAP MLA from Kondli, Kuldeep Kumar, who along with supporters staged a protest to stop the drive, was detained by Delhi Police. Addressing the crowd outside the police station, Kumar accused the BJP of demolishing people’s homes in which they have been living for 50-60 years. “I want to tell the BJP that they have looted the people of Delhi for 15 years… Now they are using bulldozers to demolish people’s homes. They have taken action against people who have been living in the village for 50-60 years,” said Kumar, in a video posted on Twitter.
Delhi Police spokesperson said, “Kumar was detained for obstructing the drive. He was later released.”