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Delhi HC seeks police response over gathering at United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees office

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday issued notice and directed the police to file a status report on the plea of the Vasant Vihar Welfare Association against the huge gathering of foreign nationals outside the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) office in the Block B of the locality.
Justice Prathiba M Singh issued notice to Delhi Police and directed them to ensure to maintain the roads were clear as it was recorded in an order on an earlier petition. It has been submitted by the petitioner Association that the local residents are unable to commute due to roadblocks. It has also been submitted the huge gathering caused constant inconvenience to the residents of the area.
The petitioner association moved an application through advocate Shahrukh Ejaz.

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Advocate Hrishikesh Baruah submitted that various foreign nationals and refugees have time and again congregated, and protested in the area near the UNHCR office. The local residents of Vasant Vihar are left to deal with the ramifications of repeated protests and squatting in the locality while the UNHCR takes its own sweet time to resolve the issues as and when they arise.
The lack of a strict policy and a lackadaisical approach by the Police and Administration has left the bona fide residents to fend for themselves in the face of repeated and sometimes aggressive protests by foreign nationals, the petition submitted.
Taking note of the grim situation being faced by the Petitioners owing to the continuous protests and havoc in their vicinity, Delhi High Court on December 8, 2021, while granting time to the Respondent to obtain instructions as to the time frame within which remaining protesters would be removed also asked the said respondent to seek instructions about the steps which it proposes to take in case such a problem (squatting and protesting) arises again in future, the petition stated.
It is submitted that no such instructions have yet been placed on record by the Respondent. The result of this is that the neighbourhood at B Block, Vasant Vihar is continuously seeing an influx of refugees who have gathered outside the Office of UNHCR.
The repeated gathering and encroachment by the protesting foreign nationals have been causing a nuisance to the residents and posing threats to the health, sanitation and peace of the residents of the locality, the petition submitted.
It is also submitted that there has been no permanent solution to the said problem and the issue persist till date. The residents have been forced to run from pillar to post to bring the same to the notice of relevant authorities who are met with nothing but shallow assurances.
Despite having received affirmations from the office of SHO, Vasant Vihar that no squatting of asylum seekers will be allowed and any encroachment shall be removed as per law, the same has still not seen the light of the day, the petition submitted.

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