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Sealing drive in Mayapuri scrap market sparks clashes, 14 injured

The drive was carried out by the South Delhi Municipal Corporation on orders of the Delhi Pollution Control Committee — which is under the Delhi government — in pursuance of a National Green Tribunal orders.

delhi Updated: Apr 14, 2019 05:29 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
New Delhi
sealing drive,mayapuri,scrap market
New Delhi, India - April 13, 2019: Sealed shops of Mayapuri industrial area are seen following an order from Monitoring Committee in New Delhi, India, on Saturday, April 13, 2019. As many as nine policemen and four paramilitary personnel were injured in the incident (Photo by Biplov Bhuyan/ Hindustan Times)(Biplov Bhuyan/HT PHOTO)

A sealing drive at the scrap market in west Delhi’s Mayapuri Industrial Area Phase-II turned violent on Saturday afternoon, as traders clashed with security personnel leaving 14 police and administrative personnel injured.

Later, additional police force was rushed to the area to ensure that no law and order disruption takes place.

The drive was carried out by the South Delhi Municipal Corporation on orders of the Delhi Pollution Control Committee — which is under the Delhi government — in pursuance of a National Green Tribunal orders.

Police said that they had asked the administration to not go ahead with the sealing drive on the centenary of Jalianwala Bagh tragedy and Baisakhi.

“The administration, however, decided to go ahead with the drive and adequate security was provided,” an official said. Apart from 40-50 police personnel, two companies — comprising 150 personnel of ITBP — were deployed at the spot.

“Around 10.30am, when the sealing drive was underway, traders and some locals started pelting stones and motor parts at the teams. The protestors were warned but they continued. The violence continued for at least an hour before additional force of Delhi police had to be called to the spot. Our two companies were at the spot. Our men retaliated to the sudden provocation but none of our men opened fire,” said a senior ITBP officer on the condition of anonymity.

The area sub-divisional magistrate, tehsildar, a DPCC engineer, a Delhi Police assistant commissioner of police, one head constable and four civil defence personnel were injured in the violence, police said.

Even though police said that none of the injured traders or local resident came forward, locals alleged that at least 24 had suffered injuries.

A video of an ITBP jawan being thrashed by the protesters also went viral on social media.

According to the police, a sealing drive was started on Saturday morning by sub-divisional mmagistrate (SDM) of Delhi Cantonment along with the staff of south municipal corporation and DPCC in Mayapuri scrap market in pursuance of the orders of National Green Tribunal (NGT).

A senior police officer said that on Friday night a meeting was held with DPCC and SDMC in which the police decided to execute the sealing drive on the orders of NGT. “We had advised the authorities to avoid such a drive on the occasion of Baisakhi. However, since the department had decided to go ahead with the plan, adequate security was provided to them,” the officer said not wishing to be identified.

At least 50 officials from SDM office, DPCC and South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC), had reached the industrial area around 10 in the morning and started padlocking the units after evacuating the staff inside.

Deputy commissioner of police (west) Monika Bhardwaj said, among those injured severely, are the tehsildar and two ITBP personnel.

“We have registered a case under IPC sections 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 332 (voluntarily causing hurt), 34 (acts done by several persons). No detentions have been made so far. We are trying to identify people who sparked the violence. So far, no one from the public has come forward to report injury to the police,” Bhardwaj said.

Locals traders said that the SDMC officials had sealed five-six units when the situation spiralled out of control.

Neeraj Sehgal, general secretary of the Mayapuri Industrial Area Welfare Association, said that the factory owners, who were busy celebrating Baisakhi in Block C and E, noticed the sealing and protesting against it. “Many of us tried to oppose the act of sealing and started pelting stones. The police force retaliated by chasing the protestors down the streets and even lathicharged us,” he said. Some locals even alleged that the police fired in the air.

Sehgal said that at least four traders had to be admitted to Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital with severe head injuries. “It was a day of festivity for us. None of these factories had been served any prior notices. Out of the five units sealed, three were car polishing units, one a steel fabrication unit and another leather manufacturing. None of them were polluting units. No scientist from DPCC has ever come to test what the polluting units are,” he said.

A senior DPCC official said that scrap dealers had been served notices for violation of emission norms.

The South Delhi Municipal Corporation washed its hands off the developments completely, saying, “Everything was planned by the Pollution Control Committee and sub-divisional magistrate’s office. We had to follow their orders.”

Later, a blame game started between the BJP-led South Delhi Municipal Corporation and the AAP-led Delhi government over the sealing drive.

First Published: Apr 14, 2019 05:29 IST