Despite eviction notice,business as usual for people in Tughlaqabad

A day after the ASI eviction deadline for residents of Tughlaqabad village ended,nothing had moved on ground on Sunday.

Written by Dipankar Ghose | New Delhi | Published:October 10, 2011 1:45 am

A day after the ASI eviction deadline for residents of Tughlaqabad village ended,nothing had moved on ground on Sunday.

The ASI (Archaeological Survey of India) had served a notice to the residents,in compliance with a Supreme Court order,asking them to vacate their homes within a week.

The heritage body had earlier said it would demolish the illegal construction in the area,one the week-long deadline was over.

As the residents,however,continued with their routine work on Sunday,with no demolition activity in the area.

Police said they had not received any intimation from the ASI regarding any demolition action. “We have not received any intimation from the ASI as to what their plans are as of now. As and when we get information,we will make the necessary arrangements,” said a senior police officer.

Despite the furore surrounding the proposed demolition,villagers are confident their houses will not be razed. “Not one person in the village has moved out and shops are open as usual. People have been living here for many years. How can they ask us to leave and uproot our lives? Several times in the past also,they have tried to remove us. But nothing has happened,” said Ramesh Kumar,a resident of the village.

In 1997,two years after the land was handed over to ASI,an effort was made by the agency to remove the encroachment,but the process was stopped due to public protest. In 2001,when another demolition was planned,village leaders obtained a stay order from the Delhi High Court,which applied till September 8,2011,when the Supreme Court removed the stay.

“In spite of the court order,we will try to ensure that no action takes place. We have filed a review petition with the Supreme Court that will come up for hearing on October 12,and we are hoping for a favourable decision,” said Dhiraj Lala,a village leader.

He said the court had asked to carry out the demolition in the two months after serving the eviction notice.

Meanwhile,construction of new buildings in the area could be seen as well. Rakesh Yadav,a contractor said,“The owners have not told us to stop work. After the controversy arose,we did ask them if we wanted to continue,but they said go ahead.”

“We have seen such tamasha before. This place is a village for namesake. There are big houses here; BJP MLA Ramesh Kumar Bidhuri stays here as well. There is a senior secondary school,too. We are very confident that nothing will happen. In fact,you will not find the eviction notice put up anywhere in the village. The residents tore them all down,” said Lokesh Sharma,a shopkeeper.

Despite repeated attempts K K Muhammed,Superintending Archaeologist,Delhi Circle,ASI,could not be contacted.

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