The Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled South Delhi Municipal Corporation will launch a month-long demolition drive, Mayor Mukesh Suryan announced on Monday, PTI reported.
Suryan said that the drive is likely to be held in Shaheen Bagh, Okhla and Tilak Nagar, among other areas in the South Delhi Municipal Corporation’s jurisdiction. However, the mayor does not have the power to order such actions.
Shaheen Bagh and Okhla were two of the many sites where protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act took place in 2019. Many of the protestors were Muslims.
The development came five days after BJP-ruled North Delhi Municipal Corporation had razed the entrance gate of the Jahangirpuri mosque and several shops, homes and other structures in the neighbourhood. The structures mostly belonged to Muslims.
The demolition drive was conducted just four days after the locality was hit by communal violence. Eight policemen and a civilian were injured after a clash between members of Hindu and Muslim communities during a Hanuman Jayanti procession.
The demolition drive continued despite the Supreme Court’s directions to halt it. It was stopped only after Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Brinda Karat brought an electronic copy of the order to the site herself.
A day later, the BJP’s Delhi unit chief Adesh Gupta had said that civic bodies in the city’s eastern and southern parts should also carry out demolition drives to “remove illegal encroachments by Bangladeshis and Rohingyas”.
On Monday, Suryan said that a meeting was held to discuss an action plan for the drive, PTI reported. He said that the sites were still being identified and a final list will be prepared soon.
“Vishnu Garden in Tilak Nagar West Zone is such an area where Rohingyas and Bangladeshis have encroached the government land and many illegal activities take place,” he said. “So, we have identified those places as well.”
The mayor said that regular meetings are conducted every month and action is taken against the alleged encroachers.
“Last week, in Nazafgarh, we ran an anti-encroachment drive at Gandhi Market in Sagarpur, where people had encroached on the drain,” Suryan said, ANI reported. “Certain Bangladeshis have also captured government land and are running factories. We will remove the encroachment and get the government land vacated and dedicate it to the public.”
Notices will be sent beforehand, he said, adding that “encroachers will not be spared”, reported PTI.
The mayor, however, also said that notices are never served to people to remove encroachments under the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act.
“But in the places where people have illegally constructed the buildings or have made offices illegally, notice has already been served to them,” he added. “They can ignore the notices, but we have them on record. We will take action as per the notices.”