Delhi

Kejriwal attacks BJP over bulldozer drives, Kashmiri pandits’ safety

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal during his meeting with Delhi MLAs over the demolition drives by the civic bodies

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal during his meeting with Delhi MLAs over the demolition drives by the civic bodies | Photo Credit: PTI

NEW DELHI:

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday lashed out at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which governs the three civic bodies in the city, over its recent demolition drives. He accused the BJP of driving 63 lakh Delhi residents towards an “unprecedented catastrophe”.

Mr. Kejriwal said the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) was “completely against such politics”. The AAP chief held a meeting of his party’s MLAs from Delhi on the issue on Monday, following which he directed his legislators to stand “firmly with the people” in the face of such “intolerable” drives. 

The BJP, meanwhile, accused Mr. Kejriwal of creating “terror and tension” in the minds of citizens by making “baseless and illogical” allegations.

The demolition drives across the Capital, by the BJP-governed civic bodies, have dominated the city’s politics ever since bulldozers first rolled into Jahangirpuri last month. Since then demolition drives have been conducted at several locations including New Friends Colony, Shahdara, Najafgarh, Rohini, Lodhi Road, and most recently in Madanpur Khadar, where AAP MLA Amanatullah Khan was arrested for protesting against the drive.

Mr. Kejriwal also trained his guns on the BJP over the recent murder of a Kashmiri Pandit, Rahul Bhatt, and demanded that the Centre pull out all the stops to ensure the safety of Pandits in the valley.

Bulldozing homes

“The BJP is scripting the biggest catastrophe ever by bulldozing the homes and shops of 63 lakh Delhiites, all these people will be rendered homeless because of the BJP,” Mr. Kejriwal said.

“We are completely against such politics. If we start assessing it from this point of view, over 80% of Delhi will come under the ambit of encroachment. Will the BJP now destroy 80% of the Capital for its politics?” he said.

“This is not fair — conduct the municipal elections — whoever wins should take a call on this matter. AAP pledges to ensure hygiene and sanitation in all unauthorised colonies. We will regularise them and give people the right of ownership of their homes,” he added.

‘White lies’

Reacting to Delhi CM’s attack, the BJP accused Mr. Kejriwal of “creating terror and tension” in the minds of Delhiites by making “baseless and illogical” allegations. Delhi BJP chief Adesh Gupta said the Delhi CM’s statement that the demolition drives led by the civic bodies would render lakhs of people homeless was “white lies.”

“There are not even that many houses in Delhi. Mr. Kejriwal is perhaps forgetting that the file to regularise unauthorised colonies has been gathering dust for the past three years with his government. Even the file pertaining to the in-situ rehabilitation of slums has not been cleared by the Delhi government for the last four years,” Mr. Gupta said.

Leader of Opposition in the Delhi Assembly Ramvir Singh Bidhuri accused Mr. Kejriwal of fooling the Capital’s residents in the name of rehabilitation.

“He promised rehabilitation but not one person living in a slum has been rehabilitated in a flat yet. His government couldn’t even prepare the layout plans of the unauthorised colonies for the past seven years,” Mr. Bidhuri added.

“The union government constructed 50,000 flats for in-situ rehabilitation in 2015 but to date, the Kejriwal government couldn’t provide power or water connections there. It is because of their lackadaisical attitude that they are in a bad shape today,” Mr. Bidhuri added.

‘Pandits fearful’

On the issue of Kashmiri pandits, Mr. Kejriwal said, “The whole country is worried about Kashmiri pandits today. Kashmir is their homeland, they want to settle and live a life of dignity there. Kashmiri pandits are living in fear ever since the killing of Rahul Bhatt.”

He said that when people protested against the brutal killing, they were met with brute action and had to face teargas and lathi-charge.

The AAP chief also said that everyone must come together to work for the upliftment and rehabilitation of Kashmiri pandits living all over the country. 

“With folded hands I request the Centre, please do whatever you can and help the Kashmiri Pandits lead a dignified life. No matter how much it costs, every provision needed must be implemented,” he said. BJP’s Delhi unit did not respond when asked for a comment on Mr. Kejriwal’s statements about Kashmiri Pandits.


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Printable version | May 17, 2022 12:59:16 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/kejriwal-attacks-bjp-over-bulldozer-drives-kashmiri-pandits-safety/article65420129.ece