Amid protests, bulldozer retreats from Shaheen Bagh

Unable to find any encroachment South MCD authorities leave spot; local residents & shop owners claim to have removed encroachments on their own

Published: 10th May 2022 07:31 AM  |   Last Updated: 10th May 2022 07:31 AM   |  A+A-

Municipal Corporation

A woman is taken away by security personnel while trying to stop a bulldozer from rolling on during an anti-encroachment drive of the South Delhi Municipal Corporation at Shaheen Bagh area on Monday.

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: High drama unfolded in southeast Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh, when South Delhi Municipal Corporation teams reached here with a bulldozer amid heavy police deployment on Monday morning. While their mission was to remove encroachments from the main road, which it had announced several days back, the authorities could not carry on with the operation as scores of locals gathered at the spot and protested the move. In a surprise turn of events, residents said they had removed the encroachments of their own recently.

Not just this. Leaders from the Congress and the AAP too sat in front of the bulldozer and protested due to which the officials had to stop the drive.At around 11am, around 20 corporation officials along with a bulldozer reached the main road of Shaheen Bagh. Companies of CRPF too were deployed in the area, which appeared more like a scene from a strife-torn area. A large number of media persons reached the spot to cover the drive.

However, locals from the area gathered in huge numbers and raised slogans against the BJP-ruled municipal corporation. Shaheen Bagh – a communally sensitive area with a sizeable Muslim population and a major site for the prolonged anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests, was on the top of the list of areas identified by the South civic body under its 10-day action plan for encroachment removal. 

Scenes from Shaheen Bagh: Locals remove a scaffolding meant to put a billboard as anti-demolition protests go on; CRPF personnel move into the spot earlier on Monday; demolition drive causes traffic snarl on Kalindi Kunj Road | Parveen Negi

While the bulldozer could just move a little further, civic authorities, not being able to find any encroachment, spotted one building where scaffolding was put up. At first, the teams went to remove the scaffolding with the bulldozer but after the shop-owner requested to remove it themselves, the corporation officials stood at the site till the time it was removed.

Mohamed Raihan, showroom owner on the ground floor of the building, said that the owner of the shop on the second floor had installed a board which got destroyed due to bad weather. “Post this the owner wanted to put up a new board outside the balcony for which he had installed the scaffolding. Today the police officials requested him nicely to remove it,” said Raihan.

As soon as the bulldozer arrived in the area, the Congress leaders, including women opposing the drive, sat in front of it while many of them lay on the ground. Congress leaders including advocate Arfa Khanum, Parvez Alam, Ashu Khan, Hidayatullah Gentle and his wife were detained by Delhi police along with other workers.

When the bulldozer moved ahead and reached shop no G-77, AAP MLA from Okhla, Amanatullah Khan and another party leader Abdul Wajid Khan reached the spot along with workers and raised slogans against the MCD.“There are no illegal structures in the area,” Khan said. “The people of the area had already removed the encroachments at my request a day before,” Khan said.

Malka Tasleem, said the area is being targeted by the BJP-run corporation due to the upcoming MCD elections.“Why did they not do anything for the last 15 years? We at Shaheen Bagh are not going to get scared of bulldozers,” said Malka.

Assad Sabri, a garment seller, said fear is still there in the area as it is largely Muslim-dominated, which is in focus but it should be removed without giving it a communal angle. “Traffic issues happen sometimes and the customers leave early because of the inconvenience caused by small vendors, but MCD should allot them slots instead of just looking to remove them,” he said.Due to the demolition drive, the traffic on Kalindi Kunj here remained slow and many shops in the area remained shut due to the demolition drive. 

Traffic briefly halts
Due to the demolition drive, the traffic on the Kalindi Kunj here remained slow and many shops remained shut due to the demolition drive


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