Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Friday said that he has written a letter to Union Home Minister Amit Shah about the demolition drive in the national capital.
In an online briefing, Sisodia alleged that the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, which is governed by the Bharatiya Janata Party, is planning to raze 63 lakh houses in the national capital.
“Of these, 60 lakh houses are in unauthorised colonies while the remaining three lakh are those where people have extended their balconies or covered them,” Sisodia said, according to PTI. “We have learnt that notices have been sent to them.”
Sisodia said that the alleged move will lead to “huge destruction” in Delhi and will leave 70% of the city’s population homeless.
“I have written to him [Amit Shah] saying that this [demotion drive] should be stopped,” Sisodia said at the briefing. “If bulldozers are to be used, they should be used to demolish the houses of those BJP leaders and civic body representatives who took bribes to allow such structures to be constructed.”
The remarks by the deputy chief minister came a day after the Delhi Police had arrested Aam Aadmi Party MLA Amanatullah Khan, who was among those who protested against the demolition drive in the city’s Madanpur Khadar area.
Khan was detained after protestors shouted slogans against the civic body and the Centre, demanding to stop the demolition drive.
He was earlier named in a first information report filed against him for allegedly obstructing the demolition drive in Shaheen Bagh on May 9.
Notably, the complaint by the civic body came hours after the BJP’s Delhi unit chief Adesh Gupta wrote a letter to the South Delhi mayor asking him to register a case against Khan.
The demolition drive in Delhi
The Municipal Corporation of Delhi has been carrying out what it describes as an “anti-encroachment” drive in several parts of the city since last month.
The civic body has so far razed structures in Jahangirpuri, Tughlakabad, Madanpur Khadar, Mangolpuri and New Friends Colony amongst other areas of the city.
The Jahangirpuri demolitions were carried out on April 20, just four days after the locality was hit by communal violence. The drive had continued for a few hours despite a stay order from the Supreme Court. Almost all the structures targeted were owned by Muslims.
On May 9, the South Delhi Municipal Corporation had planned to conduct a demolition drive in the Shaheen Bagh area. However, it stopped after a massive protest erupted.
On May 11, the South Delhi Municipal Corporation carried out the demolition exercise in the city’s Najafgarh, Dwarka and Lodhi Colony. Civic authorities and the police had faced strong objections from residents and members of the Opposition parties.
Shveta Saini, the chairperson of the South Delhi Municipal Corporation West Zone, said that a drive was also carried out in Janakpuri and Chaukhandi. Some residents of Janakpuri protested against the drive, she added.
On May 13, a demolition drive was carried out at a civic stadium in Mangolpuri and Khyala area, according to PTI.