Demonstrators Stage Massive Protest in Delhi to Prevent Demolition of Illegally Built Facilities

© Photo : TwitterProtest At Shaheen Bagh
Protest At Shaheen Bagh - Sputnik International, 1920, 09.05.2022
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On Monday, a Bharatiya Janata Party-led civic agency in Delhi tried to carry out demolitions in the Muslim-dominated area of Shaheen Bagh in the city. This comes three weeks after a Jahangirpuri area demolition drive, in which Muslims say their properties were disproportionately targeted.
Hundreds of residents, along with many politicians, held a protest at Shaheen Bagh in Delhi on Monday ahead of a demolition drive planned by the Bharatiya Janata Party-governed South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC).
Notably, Shaheen Bagh was the epicentre of anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) protests in 2019-20.
On Monday, the SDMC scheduled demolitions in the Shaheen Bagh area; however, locals and Congress workers staged a sit-in and prevented bulldozers from razing the structures.
Amanatullah Khan, a lawmaker and governing party leader representing the district, has also joined the protest.
By noon, police had detained many protesters, including women who tried to climb on top of bulldozers.
© Photo : TwitterWomen Being Detained At Shaheen Bagh
Women Being Detained At Shaheen Bagh - Sputnik International, 1920, 09.05.2022
Women Being Detained At Shaheen Bagh
Some local traders and others at the site asked authorities not to use bulldozers and started removing the unauthorised structures.
"We will remove our goods from the encroached areas within an hour. The area which is encroached is hardly 10 feet long, covered with tin shelters or tarpaulin sheets. But if the SDMC will use bulldozers, it will cause heavy losses and we have goods here. We are assuring the SDMC that this will be removed within an hour", Maroof Khan told Sputnik.
© Photo : TwitterProtestors Stood In Front Of Bulldozer In Shaheen Bagh
Protestors Stood In Front Of Bulldozer In Shaheen Bagh - Sputnik International, 1920, 09.05.2022
Protestors Stood In Front Of Bulldozer In Shaheen Bagh
On 5 May, the Delhi High Court directed the SDMC and Delhi Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (DSIIDC) to take action within two weeks against the illegal construction efforts in the area.
Bulldozers, which arrived in the area at around noon (Indian Standard Time), left around 2 pm without demolishing any structures, as the protest intensified.
Meanwhile, Amanatullah Khan told Sputnik "that there are no illegal structures in the area, as those had already been removed after my request last week".
However, if any particular shop has encroached the area illegally, we request SDMC officials to inform us, and we will peacefully remove it, Khan said.
Slamming the BJP for creating chaos in the area, Khan said: "Why have they (BJP people) come here? This is residential area, you don't need bulldozers here when people are ready to co-operate".
Khan further said that the BJP is trying to oppress minorities, arguing that the demolition has no legal basis at all.
© Photo : TwitterLocals protesting in front of Bulldozers In Delhi's Shaheen Bagh
Locals protesting in front of Bulldozers In Delhi's Shaheen Bagh  - Sputnik International, 1920, 09.05.2022
Locals protesting in front of Bulldozers In Delhi's Shaheen Bagh
Meanwhile, SDMC chairman Rajpal Singh said that the civic agency is doing its work as per court directions.
"Encroachments will be removed wherever they are", Singh said in a text message.
"The first phase of demolition drives in South Delhi began on 4 May from the Karni Singh Shooting Range area in Tughlakabad and will continue till 13 May", an SDMC official told Indian news website The Quint.
Meanwhile, many Muslim locals were angry at the BJP, as they said that the federally governing party only wants to suppress minorities and bulldoze Muslims homes.
On 20 April, a demolition drive was carried out in Delhi's Jahangirpuri on the morning of 20 April until the Supreme Court ordered it to be halted.
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