Exclusive: 'Arrest those…': Brinda Karat on Delhi's Jahangirpuri violence, demolition drive

Published on May 01, 2022 02:23 PM IST

Speaking exclusively to Hindustan Times' Kumkum Chadha, CPM Politburo member Brinda Karat alleged an illegal procession with members armed with swords and pistols was allowed to gather at a mosque in Delhi's Jahangirpuri on April 16.

Brinda Karat in front of a bulldozer during the demolition of shops in New Delhi's Jahangirpuri in New Delhi.(AP)
Brinda Karat in front of a bulldozer during the demolition of shops in New Delhi's Jahangirpuri in New Delhi.(AP)

CPM Politburo member Brinda Karat has hit out at the Bharatiya Janata Party over the demolition drive that took place in Delhi's Jahangirpuri area on April 20, calling it a selective action against the believers of a particular religion- Islam.

Speaking exclusively to Hindustan Times' Kumkum Chadha against the backdrop of the demolition drive in the capital, Karat called the bulldozers a 'representative of a political ideology and strategy of the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Sangh Parivar.

Here are the excerpts from the interview:

‘Demolition drive selectively on religious lines’

Brinda Karat, who stood before the bulldozer to block the demolition drive, invoked similar crackdowns in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, alleging a communal bias.

“The first point is that it is selective. The second point is that this selection is based not on what is legal and illegal in the eyes of the law. It is based on which particular religion you believe in. So, if I believe in Islam or I am a Muslim, I am more likely to have my home demolished without a notice than someone else,” she said.

Blaming the Delhi BJP chief Adesh Gupta for what she calls selective demolition, Karat said, “His letter to the North Delhi Municipal Corportation very clearly states the houses to be demolished are the illegal encroachments of the 'rioters'. So they decide who is the rioter and the structure is illegal. They order the bulldozer to go there and the central government provides the police force.”

“If I am a rioter, is there not a court to decide that and give a punishment it is proved? Is the party in power given the right to send a bulldozer to my house and destroy my livelihood and life savings?” she added.

'Armed illegal procession was allowed'

On April 16, clashes erupted during the Hanuman Jayanti procession in north west Delhi's Jahangirpuri area. Karat claimed that an illegal procession with members carrying swords and pistols was allowed to stop near a mosque after the peaceful procession permitted by the cops had ended.

“They were fully armed with naked swords and two identified people had pistols. Instead of going on the main road, they went through the gullies of the C Block which no other procession had done. They timed their stop at the mosque at the exact same time as the roza was being broken and people were gathering at the mosque for their prayers,” she added.

‘Police said stopping mob could create tensions'

The CPM leader claimed she spoke to a senior Delhi Police official about the alleged armed procession. “The special CP said if we had tried to stop it then, there would have been a lot of tension and there would have been incidents. In other words an armed illegal procession was allowed to go, stop before the mosque. We have got recordings where it is shown the kind of slogans that they gave which were provocative. They stopped outside the mosque deliberately.”

“But why does Arvind Kejriwal use the same language as the BJP saying punish the stone-pelters. What about punishment to those who had arms in their hands and stopped before the mosque?” she attacked the Delhi chief minister.

"Anti-encroachment drive should be as per law'

When asked if it was wrong to crack down on encroachers, the CPM leader said encroachment should be removed as per law.

“According to the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, this is considered an encroachment. In some cases they have to pay a fine and it is regularised. In some cases, they are given a notice and if they don't answer it satisfactorily according to the law, the corporation has a right to demolish it. Registered street vendors have to be given a notice,” she said.

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