“Maintain Status-Quo”: Supreme Court Halts Delhi Demolition Drive In Violence-Hit Jahangirpuri

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has stayed the Jahangirpuri demolition drive. The matter will be heard in the court again tomorrow. The Delhi High Court has agreed to hear the matter at 2 pm today.

Earlier, a petition was been filed in the Supreme Court to stop demolition in Jahangirpuri. Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave said, “Completely unauthorised unconstitutional demolition ordered in Jahangirpuri area.”

“Something serious requires your immediate intervention. This is about a completely unconstitutional and illegal demolition which has been ordered in Jahangirpuri area, where riots took place last week. No notice has been served. There is a provision for appeal under the Municiapl Corporation Act. We have filed a provisional application(before SC). It was supposed to start at 2PM but they started the demolition today morning at 9 AM knowing that we will mention”, Dave submitted.

“Maintain status quo. List before appropriate bench tomorrow”, the CJI ordered. 

The court’s order came even as nine bulldozers had rolled into the area and started razing structures as per orders of the BJP-controlled North Delhi Municipal Corporation amid heavy police presence to prevent any law and order situation.

Raja Iqbal Singh, mayor of North Delhi Municipal Corporation, has termed it a “routine exercise”, reported news agency PTI. However, the timing of the drive, especially since it comes right after the BJP’s chief letter, has prompted questions about the political motives behind the drive.

According to PTI, the civic authority wanted at least 400 police officers for the two-day anti-encroachment action that began today.

In a letter to the police, the municipal corporation stated that in Jahangirpuri, a collaborative anti-encroachment program including the Public Works Department, the Health and Sanitation Department, and others are planned.

“You (police) are therefore requested to provide at least 400 police personnel including lady police/outer force for maintaining law and order during the encroachment removal action on April 20 or April 21 (9.30 am onwards) as per your convenience for three days,” the North Corporation’s Assistant Commissioner said in the letter to the police.

According to the police, the clashes broke out when a Hanuman Jayanti procession that did not have permission took a route alongside a mosque. The “Shobha yatra” was passing by the mosque, with religious music blaring, around the same time as the azaan or Muslim call to prayers. Two groups started arguing and eventually, both sides threw stones at each other, and shots were also fired.

Nine people, including eight policemen, were injured in the incident.

A total of 25 people have been arrested so far in connection with the violence.

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