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Tension, Drama Over Bulldozers At Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh: 10 Updates

This morning, Delhi Police provided force at the site. PTI

New Delhi:
Bulldozers rolled into Shaheen Bagh, centre of the massive protest against the contentious citizenship law, for an anti-encroachment drive by south Delhi’s BJP-controlled civic body. The drive has been halted for now as police speaks to traders.

Here are 10 points in this big story:

  1. The exercise, earlier scheduled on Friday, was cancelled due to the unavailability of adequate security forces. This morning, Delhi Police provided force at the site. The drive was halted soon after it began as police started speaking to local traders.  

  2. Local residents are protesting against the exercise and supporters of the Congress and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), including AAP MLA from Okhla Amanatullah Khan, have joined them. Mr Khan said he had got encroachment in the area removed and there are no illegal structures in the area now. 

  3. “Municipality will do its work, our workers and officials are ready, teams & bulldozers have been organised. Encroachments will be removed wherever they are,” Rajpal, chairman of the standing committee of South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC), central zone, told news agency ANI.

  4. South Delhi mayor Mukesh Suryan told ANI that adequate police force is necessary for maintaining law and order during the drive. People of Delhi support this drive, he added.

  5. The South Delhi civic body has prepared a 10-day action plan to remove encroachment from these areas. The first phase of the exercise will continue till May 13.

  6. Earlier, Delhi BJP chief Adesh Gupta had written to the civic body’s mayor last month, demanding removal of encroachment by “Rohingyas, Bangladeshis and anti-social elements”.

  7. The demolition drive is taking place under the shadow of a similar exercise in north Delhi’s Jahangirpuri, days after a communal clash broke out in the area during a Hanuman Jayanti procession.

  8. The April 20 exercise at Jahangirpuri had thrown up heart-rending visuals of people begging authorities to stop as bulldozers razed homes and shops. Structures near a mosque, which was at the centre of the Hanuman Jayanti clash, were also razed.

  9. The exercise continued even after a Supreme Court’s stay order and the court had to intervene again. The court had taken serious note of the continuation of the drive after its order. Incidentally, a hearing on the matter is scheduled for today.

  10. While Raja Iqbal Singh, mayor of North Delhi Municipal Corporation, had termed the drive in Jahangirpuri a “routine exercise”, the timing, especially since it came right after the BJP’s chief letter, prompted questions on political motives.

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