The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation demolished seven illegal buildings in Fatehwadi area of Sarkhej Road on Saturday amid heavy public protest. The protesters not only pelted stones at the civic and police officials but also damaged police vehicles as well as public transport on the main highway. Police resorted to lathicharge to contain the rampaging mob. Over 200 persons have been detained for rioting on Fatehwadi canal road, police said.
As a precautionary measure, the police ordered all shops shut since morning and restricted public movement to avoid gathering of crowds.
The builders of these illegal structures were issued demolition notices a year ago but the constructions were going unabated. In all, 127 such buildings are facing demolition in two phases of 22 and 105, according the municipal corporation officials.
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People said they had booked houses at an average price of Rs eight lakh for a 2 BHK flat with the developer warning in advance about the “risk” involved but they went for it. Some buildings under the bulldozer were there in a ready-for-possession condition with the buyers present with worried faces pacing up and down seeking to know if “some thing” could be done to convince officials.
According to Nirlipt Rai, district superintendent of police, Ahmedabad rural, an FIR has been lodged against the rioters. He said that over 150 police personnel had been deployed fearing such clash during the demolition drive. After the AMC officials started demolishing the residential buildings, many of them were under-construction, the agitated people who owned the flats, protested the move.
They pelted stones at the AMC officials as well as police officials that led to a clash between police and the locals. According to Rai, at least two police officials sustained injuries in the violence. The agitated mob went on to damage two police vehicles and four public transport buses. Rai said that before the mob could turn more violent the situation was brought under control and the crowd was dispersed.
The police detained more than 200 people from the spot in order to avoid further clashes. Apart from district police, Ahmedabad city police had also deployed more than 100 police officials.
MLA STAGES DHARNA
Meanwhile, Dariapur MLA Gyasuddin Shaikh has demanded action against the builder-AMC official-politician trinity for the current situation. He said the gullible buyers should be provided protection on a humanitarian ground. Shaikh also led a sitting-in demonstration in front of the official residence of municipal commissioner D Thara.
“The very Bharartiya Janata Party (BJP) which had made a promise of providing 50 lakh houses to poor before the elections, had now come out to demolish their houses,” Shaikh said adding, “these building have not come up overnight but thanks to estate officials and politicians looking the other way helped them built over a long period”. He has urged the authorities to think of just not of Fatehwadi but half a million such people who have been cheated by unscrupulous elements.
Civic officials were not available for comment.