Continuing its controversial anti-encroachment drive in the national capital, the BJP-governed civic body today rolled into Madanpur Khadar in South East Delhi and demolished several structures it deemed as illegal construction. Amid loud protests by local residents who claimed they were given no prior intimation, bulldozers could be seen trying to demolish a six-storey building in the area. Several workers armed with hammers could also be seen pounding at the building from inside.
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLA Amanatullah Khan, who had recently managed to stop a similar drive in Shaheen Bagh, was present at the spot. He claimed that the structures were not illegal.
“I am ready to go to jail if it saves the houses of poor people. There is no encroachment here. I will support them (civic body) in demolition if there is any encroachment,” he told news agency ANI.
Local residents accused the civic body of rampant corruption claiming they were aware of all the construction in the area and allowed it after taking bribes from builders but have now rolled in with bulldozers without even giving any notice.
Residents were seen raising slogans against the police, which is providing security to the civic body while it continues its operation. The police can be heard warning the protestors through a megaphone that action would be taken against them if they continue their protest.
The civic body had on Wednesday carried out demolition drives in the city’s Najafgarh, Dwarka and Lodhi Colony. Leaders of the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party alleged that the structures were being razed arbitrarily.
Congress leader Abhishek Dutt in videos posted on his Twitter account has said that the party would not let the “bulldozer of hate” run in the national capital. He questioned why similar action was not taken against farmhouses of affluent persons.
“If the Bhartiya Janata Party wants to run bulldozers, it should run them on unemployment and fuel price rise,” he said. “They should run bulldozers on Chinese encroachment on the borders. We are willing to accompany them.”
The municipal body has conducted anti-encroachment drives in several parts of Delhi. The demolition in Jahangirpuri, right after communal clashes in the area had grabbed headlines with opposition leaders questioning its timing and motive.
The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) has come under severe criticism after locals and opposition parties called its anti-encroachment drive politically motivated and timed just as the civic body’s term ends on May 18.