SDMC’s drive in Madanpur Khadar turns violent, MLA arrested

Police and paramilitary personnel at the site of SDMC’s anti-encroachment drive on Thursday.

Police and paramilitary personnel at the site of SDMC’s anti-encroachment drive on Thursday. | Photo Credit: SASHANK IYER

An anti-encroachment drive led by the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) at south-east Delhi’s Kanchan Kunj, in Madanpur Khadar, on Thursday turned violent following clashes between the protestors and the police deployed to assist the SDMC officials. Eyewitnesses said the police lathi-charged the protestors following which stone-pelting happened in the area.

The police said around a dozen people, including the local MLA Amanatullah Khan (AAP), were detained following the violence. While several of them were later released, DCP (South East) Esha Pandey said Mr. Khan was arrested along with five other persons in a case lodged under IPC sections pertaining to rioting and causing obstruction to a public servant in discharging his duty. 

A senior police officer denied any instances of lathi-charging and said that no force of any sort was used on the protestors.

Thursday’s exercise was part of a nine-day anti-encroachment drive led by the South civic body, which started on May 5 and is scheduled to end on May 13, in areas including Shaheen Bagh, New Friends Colony, Amar Colony and Lodhi Road.

‘Followed all norms’

Bulldozers arrived in the area on Thursday morning to take action against constructions that were labelled unauthorised according to SDMC Central Zone Chairman Rajpal Singh (BJP). 

Mr. Singh said notices were issued to the owners of the unauthorised properties 15 days ago. He accused Mr. Khan and the Delhi government of trying to settle the illegal Rohingya and Bangladeshi immigrants in the area as Indian nationals by providing them free power, water and rations.

Prior to his arrest, Mr. Khan told  The Hindu that the Rohingya refugees in Madanpur Khadar were UNHRC card-holders who were living on land provided by an NGO. He dismissed the claims of the Delhi government of trying to settle the refugees in the area as Indian residents. 

“The buildings that are being demolished are of poor people from the Hindu and Muslim communities. The matter here is about corruption by the BJP-led civic body, which is targeting the poor,” said Mr. Khan.

A senior SDMC official said the action was taken against encroachments in four buildings. While two of them were completely demolished, the other two were partially demolished.

“Notices were served to the building owners well in advance. However, I cannot confirm the timeline,” he said. 

Despite multiple requests, Mr. Singh and the senior SDMC official were unable to provide copies or details of the notices served for the drive.

War of words

The civic body’s exercise in Madanpur Khadar triggered a war of words between AAP and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

While AAP called the drive “a display of BJP’s hooliganism”, the BJP accused AAP of instigating local residents to “take the law into their own hands” for the sake of vote bank politics.

Attacking the BJP over its demolition drive, AAP on Thursday said the Delhi BJP chief Adesh Gupta should get himself treated for his mental state considering the places the BJP-led civic bodies had chosen to conduct their drives. The BJP hit back saying the bulldozer drives against Bangladeshis and Rohingyas had affected AAP leaders so severely that they had lost the basic decency required to address their political rivals.

Apart from Madanpur Khadar, the SDMC carried out drives at multiple locations including the West Zone and Najafgarh Zone areas; while the North Delhi Municipal Corporation carried out an anti-encroachment drive in the Rohini, Karol Bagh and Turkman Gate areas. 

(with city team inputs)

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Printable version | Jun 25, 2022 6:58:28 pm |