NEW DELHI: The residents of Jahangirpuri, whose shops were razed by the North Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) on Wednesday morning lamented that the demolition of their main source of income has left them worried for their children.
Many people complained that their shops were razed by authorities despite them having papers issued by the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) and termed it as “wrong”.
Days after violent clashes broke out between two groups allegedly after stone-pelting on a Hanuman Shobha Yatra on Saturday, bulldozers entered Jahangirpuri to demolish shops and houses that had purportedly been constructed illegally.
Along with bulldozers, hundreds of officers in riot gear surrounded some shops and a mosque where the two groups clashed on Saturday.
Speaking to The New Indian, Ganesh Kumar Gupta, who owned the now-demolished Raj Juice corner, said, “I had all the papers with me from the DDA. The allotment was made by the DDA in 1977 and I have been paying all the taxes to the government.”
He further rued that the administration did not pay heed to his claims despite him showing all the required papers to them.
“I showed them the allotment papers and all the receipts of the taxes made to the administration, and also told them that the Supreme Court had asked not to raze the constructions, but despite that they did not listen,” Gupta said.
Similar is the case of Noor Alam, who owned a shop of providing food material for the cattle near Jahangirpuri Chowk.
In choking voice, Alam said, “It is wrong to raze our properties in such way. When we woke up in the morning, we saw heavy deployment of police force. And soon the razing of construction started.”
“I hardly earn Rs 200 to 300 per day, I don’t earn in lakh or crores. So those who are behind the demolishing our structures should think about the importance of Rs 200.”
He also said that the administration should inform about such drives in advance so that they can retrieve their belongings.
Alam, 32, also said he has been staying in the area since his childhood.
“We are basically from West Bengal’s Nandigram. My father earlier used to live on the bank of Yamuna and then we shifted here. Since then our family has been residing here, and have all the documents and papers of the house,” he added.
In the ‘D’ Block of Jahangirpuri, Mohammad Shahzad, who sells watermelon, said, “On Saturday’s procession, there were around 400 to 500 people. And most of them had swords in their hands. They asked us to remove our thelas (handcarts) from the way of the procession and we moved it towards the narrow streets to give clear passage to them.”
“The procession crossed peacefully from our areas but later we heard that violence had erupted in another part of Jahangirpuri,” he added.
Meanwhile, another local, Manzoor Ali, said that the government should have given at least one day so that “we could have removed our belongings”.
The North Delhi Municipal Corporation had sought 400 personnel from Delhi Police to carry out the anti-encroachment drive that was later stayed by the Supreme Court.
On Saturday, violence broke out in Jahangirpuri between the two communities injuring nine people. The Delhi Police has so far arrested 25 people and apprehended two juveniles in connection with the case.