NEW DELHI: An anti-encroachment drive was launched by the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) in Shaheen Bagh, the center of anti-citizenship law protests, on Monday but was forced to halt it following a massive resistance.
In heavy police presence, the officials of the SDMC arrived at the busy Shaheen Bagh market at around 11 am. Soon, locals started a protest, shouting slogans and accusing the BJP-ruled civic body of selectively targeting Muslim areas.
Locals sat in front of the bulldozer in protest and blocked its way.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court also agreed to hear a petition against the eviction campaign.
Authorities had to postpone the drive after local Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLA Amanatullah Khan also joined the demonstration. Khan said that he had already got all illegal structures removed and none were left.
“It is nothing more than symbolism of BJP’s bulldozer politics. The BJP is playing communal politics just to show that they send bulldozes to Muslim-dominated areas,” Badrudin, a local, told The New Indian.
The AAP legislator reached the area when the machine was about to remove a scaffolding set up for the painting of a building. Locals removed that structure by themselves and then bulldozer removed it.
Accusing the BJP of selectively targeting Muslim areas, a local, Salim, demanded that all illegal structures should be removed across Delhi, not just in Shaheen Bagh.
The eviction drive by the SDMC came nearly two weeks after the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC), also ruled by the BJP, razed shops and illegally-constructed residences in Jahangirpuri area of the city following communal clashes.
The SDMC’s similar proposed drives in the Kalindi Kunj-Jamia Nagar near Shaheen Bagh and in Sri Niwaspuri were reportedly cancelled on earlier occasions due to the unavailability of an adequate police force.
During the demolition drive in Shaheen Bagh, the nearly GD Birla Marg remained choked for hours with traffic congestion stretching up to one kilometre.
All the three civic bodies in the national capital are governed by the BJP.