HC cordons off area in Chandni Chowk as encroachment row sparks protest
The Delhi high court ordered the removal of a drinking water kiosk near Gurdwara Sis Ganj Sahib in Chandni Chowk and round-the-clock police protection in the area after the kiosk was reconstructed overnight against court orders.
A mob took to violent protests when municipal officials demolished a water kiosk ‘piao’ in an encroachment demolition drive in Chandni Chowk following the high court’s March 28 order. The kiosk was rebuilt after officials left.
“How can you allow it to be reconstructed? Why wasn’t somebody posted. This is an upfront challenge to the court. This is not tolerable. We will issue contempt of court notices to those responsible,” a bench of Justice S Murlidhar and Justice Vibhu Bakhru noted, taking the police and the concerned municipality corporation to task.
“If anyone tries to obstruct the court’s order, the civic officials will be answerable to the court for wilful violation of court’s order… DCP concerned has to explain what kind of security was provided at the spot and how police permitted reconstruction of the piao.”
Terming the incident as “an open challenge” to a court order, the bench also issued contempt of court notices to two leaders of the Sikh groups who led the mob after Wednesday’s demolition drive.
Delhi police said they were identifying others present in the mob through CCTV footage.
Apart from asking for the video evidence of the entire incident, including the reconstruction of the kiosk, the court also directed the North Municipal Corporation of Delhi (NDMC) to submit a report on “what exactly happened”. The demolition drive was conducted under the NDMC’s supervision.
The matter was posted for further hearing on Friday.