Couple threatens to self immolate to stop BBMP demolition drive
The couple, identified as Sona Singh and Sunil Singh, own a three-storey building in KR Puram, said police. When a bulldozer approached their house, they tried to stop the demolition by standing along the wall outside their house with a bottle of what looked like petrol
A couple threatened to self-immolate after their house was marked for demolition by the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), however, their attempt was thwarted by the police in Bengaluru, people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday. The incident took place in KR Puram’s Gayathri Layout on Wednesday morning when the BBMP officials reached the spot to demolish a part of the house that was encroaching the stormwater drain.
The couple, identified as Sona Singh and Sunil Singh, own a three-storey building in KR Puram, said police. When a bulldozer approached their house, they tried to stop the demolition by standing along the wall outside their house with a bottle of what looked like petrol.
Initially, they were seen holding petrol cans, obstructing the drive and asking officials to go back, however, when the officials did not back down, the two doused themselves with petrol and threatened to self-immolate, maintaining that they had documents to prove that their house was not constructed illegally over a stormwater drain.
When the police intervened, the couple demanded that the demolition be stopped. “We have taken a loan of ₹ 40 lakh to build this house. How can you demolish it? We built this house 15 years ago and won’t allow you to raze it,” they said.
When the officials stressed that the houses need to be razed, the couple objected saying: “The police officials should go back or else we will self-immolate. They will be responsible for it.”
Later, police splashed water at them from all the directions using water cannons to ensure they don’t take any extreme steps. After this, the policemen restrained the couple and took them to the edge of the boundary wall and foiled the suicide attempt.
BBMP officials said that they had issued a notice to the residents prior to the demolition. “During the recent flooding, a person was washed at the same spot. We have already issued a notice to the residents. It is not correct that they are now objecting to our drive. The entire house won’t be demolished. Only five feet will be razed,” Mahadevapura zone chief engineer Basavaraj Kabade told the reporters.
The civic authorities said they “won’t succumb to any pressure” when it came to razing down the structures that encroach upon the stormwater drains.
The BBMP, on Monday, resumed the demolition of illegal structures which are built on stormwater drains (SWD) in several parts of Bengaluru after a week of Dussehra holidays. The revenue department officials and the police had earlier conducted a survey at KR Puram and near Mahadevapura where the anti-encroachment drive is being conducted by the BBMP.
Meanwhile, BBMP chief commissioner Tushar Giri Nath said that the “police department is coordinating with the civic body officials to maintain the law-and-order situation during the demolition drive”.
“The police officials along with BBMP marshals are taking care of the law-and-order situation during the drive,” he said. In September, heavy rains had inundated several parts of Bengaluru, after which the civic body had announced a demolition drive to remove all the encroachments on stormwater drains, stated to be the reason behind the waterlogging. Many IT parks, schools and gated communities in the Mahadevapura area of East Bengaluru were also on the BBMP’s list of illegal encroachments.