Bulldozers rolled into Jahangirpuri, Delhi, at 10 a.m. today, near the neighborhood where communal violence erupted on Saturday during a Hanuman Jayanti procession. The North Delhi Municipal Corporation dispatched nine bulldozers to Jahangirpuri to clear what it called illegal encroachments. It had requested 400 police officers to help keep the peace in the region, which has been tense since the incident.
CPI(M) Leader Brinda Karat stood in front of a JCB to halt demolition drive in Delhi’s Jahangirpuri at 12.10 pm. Drive continued till 12.15 pm despite SC asking MCD to maintain status quo around 11 am. Action a few days after communal clashes on 16 April. @TheQuint @QuintHindi pic.twitter.com/JLH8RcvprZ
— Eshwar (@hey_eshwar) April 20, 2022
Hundreds of officers in riot gear encircled some shops and a mosque where violence erupted on Saturday, with bulldozers. Senior police officer Dependra Pathak said, “We are here to provide protection, and to maintain law and order.”
A petitioner who raced to the Supreme Court to block the demolition cited a troubling pattern in places such as Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, and Madhya Pradesh, in which communal riots are followed by demolition efforts targeting one community. The petitioner further claimed that the Delhi Municipal Corporation did not notify anyone prior to the razing operation.
As the BJP-dominated civic council began demolishing structures, a three-judge bench led by Chief Justice of India NV Ramana ordered a halt to the demolition till the next hearing, which is scheduled for tomorrow.
The demolition, however, did not subside, and the excavators went on to demolish shops before proceeding to the mosque. Officials said they were awaiting the court ruling and would continue “removing illegal structures” until they received it.
In the midst of the mounting tensions, a mosque’s wall and gate were demolished, as were some surrounding shops.
Around 12 p.m., CPM leader Brinda Karat arrived on the scene with a physical copy of the order, pleading with the police and civic officials to immediately halt the demolition. In a video, she can be seen standing in front of a bulldozer, blocking its path. Ms. Karat also visited with police officers in an attempt to stop the bulldozers.
At the same time, the petitioner told the Supreme Court that notwithstanding the ruling, the destruction had continued.
“They say that the order has not been communicated. Please communicate, and if you have any questions, please ask the Secretary General,” Dushyant Dave, a senior lawyer, said Chief Justice Ramana. “It was immediately widely covered in the media. This isn’t correct! We live in a society based on the rule of law.” he stated.
“Otherwise, it will be too late,” Mr Dave added, pleading for immediate action. “Ok. Communicate it through Secretary-General or Registrar General (of the apex court) immediately,” The Chief Justice stated.
After demolishing compound of Masjid, when these buldozers were moved near the Mandir for demolishing part of its structure, Hindus from the locality protested and stopped them from doing so. The Buldozers were later moved away from the Mandir. #StopBulldozingMuslimHouses pic.twitter.com/ElyUICAsPy
— Mohammed Zubair (@zoo_bear) April 20, 2022