Delhi: Demolition drive in Mehrauli sparks protest, detentions, politics | Latest News Delhi - Hindustan Times
close_game
close_game

Delhi: DDA demolition drive in Mehrauli sparks protest, detentions, politics

Feb 11, 2023 02:55 AM IST

A joint team of DDA officials, and police personnel reached the Ghousiya slum colony area in the morning with a bulldozer, and first started demolishing shanties near a local mosque.

The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) on Friday demolished several three- and four-storey structures that had come up illegally on the agency’s land in the Aam Bagh, Brijwasi colony area of Mehrauli, evoking sharp reactions from the local residents who said they were not given any prior notices.

DDA carried out demolition of illegal structures in ward number 8 of Mehrauli. Some shanties in Ghousiya slum colony and buildings in Brijwasi Colony were targeted on Friday. (Vipin Kumar/HT Photo)
DDA carried out demolition of illegal structures in ward number 8 of Mehrauli. Some shanties in Ghousiya slum colony and buildings in Brijwasi Colony were targeted on Friday. (Vipin Kumar/HT Photo)

A joint team of DDA officials, and police personnel reached the Ghousiya slum colony area in the morning with a bulldozer, and first started demolishing shanties near a local mosque. Then, the team reached Brijwasi Colony, C-block, where they demolished at least one building fully, and partially removed a couple of others, officials aware of the action said on Friday.

HT launches Crick-it, a one stop destination to catch Cricket, anytime, anywhere. Explore now!

Officials said the drive may continue on Saturday.

A DDA spokesperson, however, did not share the exact number of buildings and shanties that were targeted on Friday.

Also read | Noida soon to begin demolition drive to free Yamuna floodplains

The area is located close to the Mehrauli Archaeological Park. While some of the land here belongs to DDA, some other stretches on which buildings and shanties have come up over the last decade are owned by the Archaeological Survey of India and the Waqf Board.

DDA had issued an order for demolition of these structures last year. In December 2022, DDA pasted a demolition order dated December 12 on various houses in the area stating that government/DDA land of village Ladha Sarai falling in various khasras in the area was encroached upon by unauthorised occupants.

“The said land is part of Mehrauli Archaeological Park and the existing unauthorised encroachment is a hindrance to the development of the Mehrauli Archaeological Park. Therefore, all unauthorised encroachers are liable to be evicted from the government/DDA land,” said the demolition order issued by the horticulture division of DDA.

Nirmal Gorana, convener, Mazdoor Awaz Sanghrash Samiti, said that the Waqf Board, ASI and DDA were locked in various court cases with residents of the area. Gorana said that Friday’s drive entailed the demolition of multi-storeyed buildings.

“The court has given a stay on the demolition of structures on khasra no. 115. Despite the stay, if DDA carried out demolition on Saturday, we will gherao DDA office,” he added.

The Delhi high court, meanwhile, ordered a status quo on demolition action as some residents of slum cluster, Ghousiya Colony, rushed to the court. The high court listed the matter for further hearing on February 14, noting that the counsel for the authorities, including Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) and DDA, did not have complete instructions on Friday.

Sabra Begum, a resident of Ghousiya Colony, who has lived in the area for the past 20 years, is among the hundreds of people in the locality who received the demolition order in December. While her house was not touched on Friday, she said that DDA might come again for demolitions. “DDA says that the land belongs to them, however, we have been living here for decades now. Our ration card and all other documents are also issued on the address where we now live. If at all the status of the land was contested, why did no one do anything in all these years when people were constructing high-rise buildings in the area,” said Sabra.

Residents in C-Block, Brijwasi Colony, protested against the drive. Aam Aadmi Party’s Malviya Nagar and Mehrauli legislators Somnath Bharti and Naresh Yadav also supported the residents and described the DDA action as illegal. They were among the five people who were later detained by the police.

“We received a demolition notice in December first. After that, a representation was sent to the DDA by residents in which we informed the body that as per a 2017 land demarcation, our property didn’t fall into the DDA area. However, another recent demolition notice was issued on February 3, and it was only served to us on Thursday evening. On Friday morning, they started demolition. While one building was demolished completely, others were partially demolished. The entry gate of one building was damaged,” said Sumana Singha, a resident whose house is located on the street in which demolition was carried out on Friday.

Singha said that her family was trying to secure a court notice but there was a fear that the agency might continue with demolition on Saturday.

Senior ASI officials said that they were not involved in the demolition drive carried out on Friday.

The Aam Aadmi Party blamed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for the demolition. AAP MLA and MCD in-charge Durgesh Pathak claimed that since the BJP has lost the MCD elections, the party is targeting the poor.

“BJP is making poor Delhi residents pay for its defeat in the MCD elections by bulldozing thousands of slums in Delhi. People in Mehrauli were seen crying and begging in front of police and BJP to stop the demolition. If they had won the elections, nothing would’ve happened,” Pathak said.

A BJP spokesperson did not comment on Pathak’s allegations.

A senior police officer said, “We detained around five people and removed them from the demolition spot since they were creating a ruckus and obstructing government officials. All of them were later released. No case has been registered. Nearly 600 police personnel were deployed in the law and order duty. The drive will continue tomorrow (Saturday) amid tight security arrangements.”

Unveiling 'Elections 2024: The Big Picture', a fresh segment in HT's talk show 'The Interview with Kumkum Chadha', where leaders across the political spectrum discuss the upcoming general elections. Watch now!
SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Share this article
SHARE
Story Saved
Live Score
OPEN APP
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Monday, April 22, 2024
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Follow Us On