Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh neighbourhood, known for the protests led by women during the anti-CAA and NRC agitations, saw massive protests today against the planned demolition drive by the Bhartiya Janata Party-led South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) against alleged “encroachments”. There have been multiple demolition drives in recent weeks in Delhi and other (BJP ruled) states which have attracted strong criticism for targeting Muslims, sometimes for ‘rioting’ (as in Jahangirpuri) and at others for alleged ‘encroachment’ of their shops and homes on government land.
Residents of the locality turned out in significant numbers to oppose the demolition drive which ultimately could not be implemented. AAP’s Okhla MLA Amanatullah Khan said, joining the protestors, that “there are no illegal structures here” and certain extensions of a mosque (‘wazu khana’ used for washing hands and feet before prayers) had been removed earlier on his request.
Media outlets such as Newlaundry also reported from ground tht many of the shopkeepers said that they had received no notice of the demolition drive. The civic body countered this charge by the petitioners saying that the demolitions were targeted at ‘encroachments’ and there was no need for notice since no buildings were being demolished.
SC Raps CPM For Filing Petition Against Demolitions, Tells It To Approach HC
The Supreme Court rebuked the Communist Party of India (Marxist) for approaching it with a plea against the demolitions, expressing objections to political parties taking up the case and said that it would have heard it if the “aggrieved party” had approached it directly. The SC asked the CPM to withdraw its petition and approach the High Court.
In a strongly worded reprimanded, the Supreme Court said: "You do not even go to the High Court. You come straight to the Supreme Court. What is this? A political party coming here and telling us what to do."
The bench added that it was in favour of “protecting livelihoods” but “not like this”.
"If there is a violation of law, we will intervene. Not because of anticipation at the behest of political parties like this. Do not file petitions like this. You spent all day here. You could have gone to the High Court if the action was not in accordance with law,"