Delhi authority demolition row: Women nabbed for throwing chilli powder at cops

PTI |
Feb 12, 2023 05:57 PM IST

A group of women staged a protest against the demolition drive and alleged that they were lathicharged by police personnel deployed at the spot.

Some women protesters were detained on Sunday after they allegedly threw red chilli powder on police personnel deployed during an anti-encroachment drive here, officials said.

Residents protest against the anti-encroachment drive by DDA at Meharauli in New Delhi on Saturday. (Raj K Raj/HT PHOTO)(HT_PRINT)
Residents protest against the anti-encroachment drive by DDA at Meharauli in New Delhi on Saturday. (Raj K Raj/HT PHOTO)(HT_PRINT)

Nearly 1,200 square metres of government land was reclaimed during the anti-encroachment drive in the Mehrauli Archaeological Park area on Friday, the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) said in a statement on Saturday.

Also read: Delhi government asks DDA to halt Mehrauli demolition, seeks fresh demarcation

The DDA has been carrying out the drive since Friday amid police security, triggering protests from local residents and a blame-game between the AAP and the BJP.

On Sunday, a group of women staged a protest against the demolition drive and alleged that they were lathicharged by police personnel deployed at the spot.

Denying the allegations, a senior officer said, "There was no lathicharge and no one was injured. They (protesters) were obstructing the DDA personnel and the police.

"Some women threw red chilli powder on police personnel and a few of them have been detained. Suitable legal action will be taken."

The DDA continued with the anti-encroachment exercise on Sunday.

On Friday, the urban body said, "During the demolition programme on 10.02.2023, approximately 1,200 sq m of government/DDA land has been reclaimed from the encroachers so far, and the exercise is on to reclaim the rest of the encroached government land for its rightful use by all citizens as a park."

The action was taken as part of a demolition drive that will continue till March 9, officials said on Friday. It comes a month ahead of a G20 meeting planned to be hosted at the archaeological park in south Delhi.

"The court has in the past taken note of the encroachment in the historic park in connection with multiple cases, and many people in the last few decades have built unauthorised structures, some, even five-storey or six-storey, in the area. A notice was issued last December and pasted on walls to alert people," a senior DDA official had said.

The DDA started the drive from Friday in coordination with Delhi Police to remove encroachment from its land at Ladha Sarai village in Mehrauli Archaeological Park.

Also read: More buildings razed in Mehrauli, Delhi govt orders fresh land assessment

The park is home to about 55 monuments under protection of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), state archeological department of Delhi and the DDA, the authority said on Saturday.

Earlier, a demolition order dated December 12, 2022, was pasted on the walls of illegal structures on the land along with markings with directions to the "encroachers to remove all the unauthorised construction from the land in question within 10 days", it said.

According to the notice, the land on which the demolition is being carried out is part of the Mehrauli Archaeological Park and the "existing unauthorised encroachment is acting as a hindrance to the development of the Mehrauli Archaeological Park".

The sprawling park is dotted with historic monuments and, while the area falls under the DDA, the heritage structures are maintained by the ASI.

Official sources said the ASI is also working in full swing for the G20 meet at the Mehrauli Archaeological Park, planned to be held in early March.

"The High Court of Delhi has, on many occasions, directed the government authorities to secure, protect and preserve the area falling under Mehrauli Archaeological Park by removing illegal encroachment," the statement said.

"The department is taking the action to remove the unauthorised/illegal encroachment from the government land and also to secure the Mehrauli Archaeological Park from encroachment," it said.

A "demarcation exercise had been carried out as per direction of the High Court" in the presence of DDA and Waqf Board representatives by the Revenue Department of Delhi in December 2021, it said.

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