Jangpura RWA had alerted the civic body a number of times
Residents of Jangpura B-Block where a mosque was demolished on Wednesday morning leading to tension and clashes between protesters and police blame the Delhi Development Authority for not taking steps to prevent encroachment on its land in the first place.
The Jangpura Residents' Welfare Association said it had written to the DDA a number of times alerting the civic body of encroachments on public land in the area. The RWA then approached the High Court in 2006 with a PIL demanding that encroachments in B-Block including a jhuggi-jhopri cluster and two religious structures including a mosque and a Balmiki Mandir be cleared and the area be developed according to its layout plan which allowed for a community centre and a public park.
A Jangpura resident who did not want to be named said it was ironical that the residents had to spend time and money to fight a court case to ensure that the DDA recovered land in its ownership.
The counsel for the Jangpura RWA R.K. Saini said the demolished mosque had been constructed in 2005 in place of a temporary structure by the JJ-cluster residents who were involved in plastic waste collection to prevent eviction. However, local MLA Tarvinder Singh Marwah claimed the mosque has been present at the site for the past 30 years.
While the slums were removed from the plot in 2006 and 2007, the DDA said it had to refer the demolition of the two religious structures to a religious committee constituted by the Lieutenant-Governor. The court disposed of the PIL on July 9, 2008, following an undertaking by the DDA that it would remove the remaining encroachments in the area and act on the recommendations of the religious committee.
“In June 2009, the religious committee ordered demolition of the mosque on the grounds that it was a recent construction while noting that the Balmiki Mandir had been earlier allotted land which was cancelled later. The committee also suggested re-allotment of land to the Balmiki Mandir,” said Mr. Saini.
The Jangpura RWA said it then wrote to the DDA several times to act on the direction of the religious committee. The DDA on its part says it tried four times in 2010 to demolish the mosque but could not do so for lack of police protection.
Finally in October 2010, the RWA approached the High Court seeking initiation of contempt of court proceedings on the Lt.-Governor, DDA vice-chairman and DDA Commissioner of Land Management. On October 28, Judge G.S. Sistani ordered the demolition of the structure within four weeks and asked the DDA to submit a compliance report on January 14.