No Shaheen Bagh demolitions after Delhi Police reject staff request
This was the third time in a week that police rejected the South Delhi Municipal Corporation's (SDMC's) request for forces to remove encroachments in south-east Delhi. They previously denied permissions for drives in Jasola on April 28 and Okhla on April 29.
The South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) could not implement an anti-encroachment drive in Shaheen Bagh on Thursday after Delhi Police denied their request to provide personnel for the demolitions, citing the sensitive law-and-order situation in the area.
This was the third time in a week that police rejected the civic body’s request for forces to remove encroachments in south-east Delhi. They previously denied permissions for drives in Jasola on April 28 and Okhla on April 29.
In a letter to the SDMC central zone, the Delhi Police asked that the demolitions planned between May 5 and 8 be postponed. HT has seen a copy of the letter
“As you are aware, the area of south-east district is extremely sensitive from a law-and-order point of view. Moreover, local political leaders may also carry out protests against the special demolition/sealing/encroachment removal programme to gain political mileage. Due to present law and order situation, police cannot be provided for above programme due to non-availability of sufficient police force,” the letter said.
A senior Delhi Police officer said assistance will be provided “depending on its availability”.
SDMC earlier this week drew up a fortnight-long plan against illegal structures in south Delhi.
The programme kicked off on Thursday in Tughlakabad, near the Karni Singh Shooting Range, where bulldozers razed 13 temporary structures, including tea stalls and juice shops. Officials of the civic body said they got police assistance for that drive.
On Thursday, the drive was expected to start near the main road from Kalindi Kunj Park – barely a few metres from the site that saw a 100-day-long protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act between December 2019 and March 2020.
“The encroachment drive planned by SDMC’s central zone will not take place this week due to the non-availability of police assistance,” an SDMC official said.
Rajpal, chairman of the SDMC’s central zone and the Bharatiya Janata Party’s councillor from Sriniwaspuri ward, said the civic body has completed preparations for the drive, which can be resumed as soon as police given a greenlight.
“Bulldozers are available with the department and the drive can be continued on the same schedule once the police agree,” he said.
Abdul Wajid Khan, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) councillor from ward 102-S, which covers areas such as Shaheen Bagh and Abul Fazal Enclave, said there are no permanent encroachments in the area and accused the BJP-led corporation of attempting to politicise the matter.
“People have already moved their temporary structures, including carts and other such installations. There are no permanent encroachments… Why are they trying to turn it into a political issue?” he said.