Involves land entitlement and allegations of encroachment

The Jor Bagh Karbala issue has witnessed several flare ups in the past. While the long dispute over the shrine had led to a violent clash between the police and residents in January 2012, more recently around four dozen people had protested outside the residence of Congress leader Ahmed Patel in January this year.

The issue, which largely involves land entitlement and allegations of encroachment, is sub-judice. Former Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit had also met Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde last year and requested him to intervene and help resolve the matter.

Karbala and Dargah Sha-e-Mardan are in the middle of Jor Bagh and B.K. Dutt Colony. In January 2012, the residents of B.K. Dutt Colony, opposite Jor Bagh, had protested and blocked Safdarjung flyover over a gate to the shrine which opened into their colony.

The eight acres owned by the Waqf Board also houses the Rajdhani nursery. The situation in the area worsened in 2012 when the nursery owner and members of the Anjuman-e-Haidri committee, which looks after the complex, clashed. While the committee members allege that the lease for the nursery expired in 2000 but the owner is not vacating the land, the nursery owners claim that the Court has identified and accepted them as lease holders.

In December 2012, the High Court had asked the Delhi Chief Secretary to look into the demarcation of land around the Karbala after the New Delhi Municipal Council informed the Court that it was unable to implement an earlier High Court order to construct a boundary wall around it because the property was disputed.

Sources in the Delhi Government said the issue has become contentious due to its prime location and that a big lobby of builders from the western U.P. was also involved in it.

“In 2006, as per the Court order the SDM had drawn a map demarcating the land of the Karbala. It added up to around 9 bighas. But the occupiers claim their entitlement on 22 bighas. It’s a prime property in the heart of Delhi. Some of the builders associated with the occupiers had even issued a prospectus of the proposed building complex at the site, which was dropped after opposition from the residents of the B.K. Dutt Colony,” said an official.

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