Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia alleged on Friday that Bharatiya Janata Party members were threatening to run bulldozers over citizens’ homes and shops if they do not pay money to them.
He made the claim in a letter written to all Delhi MLAs from the Aam Aadmi Party. The allegations came two days after the BJP-controlled North Delhi Municipal Corporation razed several Muslim-owned shops and properties in the city’s Jahangirpuri area.
Sisodia alleged that he received complaints from many residents about such threats. “The people are very scared of the BJP’s hooliganism, they are hesitating in coming forward [with their allegations] as they fear that their houses and shops may actually be demolished,” he said.
The deputy chief minister urged MLAs to help residents combat the “illegal extortion” of the BJP and to assure them of the support of the Aam Aadmi Party.
“The BJP has decided to earn as much money as possible on its way out from the Municipal Corporation of Delhi,” Sisodia alleged. “That is why they are issuing all kinds of threats to owners of houses and shops.
The deputy chief minister added the BJP’s “lust for money” is driving their bulldozer politics, according to PTI.
Sisodia told AAP MLAs to hand over the culprits in these cases to the police.
Commenting on Sisodia’s allegations, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal claimed that such complaints have been coming in from the entire city. “The people of Delhi will not tolerate such open extortion and hooliganism,” he said on Twitter. “Was this why the MCD elections were postponed?”
On Thursday afternoon, AAP MLAs Sanjeev Jha and Pawan Kumar Sharma visited Jahangirpuri, according to The New Indian Express. Earlier, the party had faced criticism on social media for being absent from the area when the demolitions were taking place.
‘Need solutions, not diversions’: Kerala CM
Meanwhile, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan criticised the BJP for the demolition drive at Jahangirpuri, asking whether social problems like hunger could be solved by “fanning hatred and resorting to communal politics”.
“In the 2021 Global Hunger Index, India ranks 101st out of the 116 countries,” he said on Twitter. “Can this reality be covered up by curtains and erased with bulldozers? We need solutions, not diversions!”
The drive began four days after communal violence erupted in the locality when a Hindu religious procession armed with guns and swords passed a mosque.
Municipal authorities stopped the bulldozers just outside the entrance of a Hindu temple, about 15 shops away from the mosque, and began to retreat. Citing this, Muslim residents said that they had been targeted.
The Jahangirpuri exercise also started in the backdrop of demolition drives carried out by the BJP-controlled state governments in Madhya Pradesh’s Khargone and Gujarat’s Anand, where bulldozers were used to raze homes and properties of those allegedly involved in the riots that broke out during Ram Navami processions on April 10.