NEW DELHI: A 15-member delegation of the Congress on Thursday visited violence-hit Jahangirpuri on Thursday but was stopped by the police from meeting people in the locality where the North Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) carried out an anti-encroachment drive on Wednesday.
Former Union minister Ajay Maken, AICC in-charge of Delhi Congress Shaktisinh Gohil, and state unit chief Anil Kumar Chaudhary were part of the delegation.
Speaking to the media, Maken alleged that the eviction drive was an attack on the poor and their “means of livelihood”. “The law does not permit the demolition of any house without prior notice,” he added.
Citing court judgments, the Congress leader said that the anti-encroachment programme was conducted by violating the rules. “This demolition is illegal. I was an urban development minister too, and I know how laws work. They cannot do this without any prior notice. BJP leaders are lying,” Maken said.
He called upon people not to see the action through the prism of religion.
Meanwhile, Delhi Congress chief Chaudhary Anil Kumar staged a sit-in protest after the party delegation was not allowed to meet the families whose houses and shops were razed by the North MCD.
“The action has been initiated in an autocratic manner…. you can see this house which was allotted by the government. Why these structures belonging to the poor were demolished,” he asked.
Attacking the BJP-run civic body, Chaudhary also said that the law was not followed before razing the buildings in Jahangirpuri. “This country runs by law and not by BJP,” he said.
“The Delhi BJP chief can be allowed to go in the area, the bulldozers can be allowed, but not the opposition. Is it not dictatorship,” he further asked.
Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court ordered authorities to halt any demolition in Jahangirpuri for another two weeks and maintain the status quo in the case till further orders. A bench comprising Justices L Nageswara Rao and BR Gavai issued notice to the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) against a petition of the Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind, asking it to file a counter-affidavit within two weeks.
“We’ll take a serious view of demolition that took place after information was given to the Mayor”, the top court observed.
On Wednesday, authorities allegedly continued to demolish “illegal” structures in Jahangirpuri even after Supreme Court stayed the drive.