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Two-hour fracas at Nehru Nagar Square

THE Bhopal Municipal Corporation (BMC) squad?s attempts to remove construction material from Nehru Nagar Square under an ?anti-encroachment drive? led to a major ruckus in the locality on Friday.

india Updated: Feb 10, 2007 13:13 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent

Protest over ‘encroachment’ removal; vehicles damaged, road blockaded, shops closed
THE Bhopal Municipal Corporation (BMC) squad’s attempts to remove construction material from Nehru Nagar Square under an ‘anti-encroachment drive’ led to a major ruckus in the locality on Friday.

A mob that included Bharatiya Janata Party activists indulged in rioting that last for more than two hours.
The mob broke the windshields of the BMC vehicles, blockaded road and forced closure of shops in the vicinity — one of the busiest localities of the City.

The police registered cases of rioting against 11 named and 60 unnamed persons including corporator Lily Agrawal upon the complaint of the State Government. The BMC authorities suspended assistant health officer and supervisor of anti-encroachment drive Rajeev Saxena.

The construction material was being used for a Capital Project Authority work by a contractor who is also a BJP worker. The material was lying on the road. The BMC squad led by Saxena, who is supervisor of the anti-encroachment drive for the zone concerned, and another official Saulat Khan reached the spot and started getting the material removed.

Contractor Munnalal Rathod’s workers opposed the removal saying that they had work order from the CPA to carry out construction and thus the material could not be termed as encroachment. The BMC squad, however, remained insistent on removing the material.

This allegedly led to a scuffle between the workers and the BMC squad members, during which some of the workers of Rathod were reportedly injured.

The situation soon turned to worse as the news reached the local BJP leaders. The local BJP unit president Babulal Yadav and several of his supporters reached the spot. Also, a huge mob gathered on the spot and it turned free-for-all as the mob targeted the BMC vehicles and broke windshields of five of them.

The BMC officials were forced to flee the spot. Some other BMC vehicles that were also reaching the spot turned back.
The mob did not stop at this. It started getting the shops in the busy market area closed down and staged a road blockade demanding action against the BMC officials.

Despite the police reaching the spot, the crowd did not budge from the demand. Corporator Lily Agrawal of BJP also reached the spot meanwhile and tried to defuse the situation by talking to the crowd as well as the officials of the BMC.

The situation was finally brought under control when the additional commissioner K K Singh Chouhan reached Nehru Nagar Square and assured the people gathered there that action would be taken against the officials.

Later in the day, AHO Rajeev Saxena was suspended on the charges of negligence leading to controversy.

The police – upon complaint of the State Government — registered cases under sections 341, 147, 148 and 149 of the Indian Penal Code against Lily Agrawal, Babulal Yadav, Liladhar Yadav, Laxmi Yadav, Ramesh, Jagdish, Ghasidas, Gabbar, Deepak, Motilal and Jamuna Prasad. Cases were also registered against 60 other unnamed persons.

Lily Agrawal told Hindustan Times that the BMC squad engaged in rough behavior and even physical assault despite the contractor showing work order to them.

He said that he tried to pacify the people when he reached there but by this time the vehicles had already been damaged.
Municipal Commissioner Manish Singh could not be contacted. K K Singh Chouhan said that the BMC squad had reached the spot on receiving complaints of encroachment from citizens and was routine practice. He also confirmed that Saxena was suspended for negligence.

BMC letter to development agencies
MUNICIPAL COMMISSIONER Manish Singh on Friday issued a letter to the developmental agencies like the Bhopal Development Authority (BDA), the Capital Project Authority (CPA), the Public Works Department (PWD) and the State Housing Department to seek prior permission of the BMC before starting any construction work within municipal limits.

The letter was issued to these agencies following the incident at Nehru Nagar. The letter mentioned the provisions of the Municipal Act 1956, which requires prior permission of the BMC for all developmental works.

The fact that the construction material that was being confiscated from Nehru Nagar belonged to a project under CPA is said to be behind the fresh order of the municipal Commissioner.

First Published: Feb 10, 2007 13:13 IST