The Supreme Court on Wednesday stayed a demolition drive near the Krishna Janmabhoomi of Uttar Pradesh’s Mathura, reported Live Law.

On August 9, the Railway authorities began the demolition drive in the Nai Basti area, which has at least 135 houses. The demolitions left at least 600 people homeless after 60 houses were razed last week, reported The Indian Express.

The Muslim-majority settlement is along the railway track in the backyard of the Krishna Janmabhoomi. According to the Railways, the area is being cleared to convert the 21-kilometer stretch from Mathura to Vrindavan from narrow to broad gauge to facilitate the operation of trains such as the Vande Bharat Express, reported Live Law.

Nai Basti lies in a disputed land claimed by the Hindu parties as the birthplace of Hindu deity Krishna. The area also includes Shahi Idgah mosque, which is also claimed by Hindu litigants in another case. They have staked claim over 13.37 acres of land around the mosque.

On Wednesday, senior Advocate Prashanto Chandra Sen, appearing for petitioner and resident of the area Yakub Shah, submitted that he approached the Supreme Court for an urgent hearing as all courts in Uttar Pradesh are closed.

“Taking advantage of that, the authorities have bulldozed over 100 houses,” he told the Supreme Court. “There are some 200 houses in the area. Only 70-80 are left. The whole thing [plea] will become infructuous.”

Following this, the three-judge bench of Justices Aniruddha Bose, Sanjay Kumar, and SVN Bhatti passed the order granting interim relief to the residents for next 10 days. The matter will be listed before the court after one week.

In this petition, Shah had alleged that the demolition was carried out even though eviction notices issued in June were challenged and remains pending in a local Mathura court.

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