Updated: June 16, 2021 10:19:37 am
Eight days after the Supreme Court directed that “all essential measures” be taken to “remove encroachments on the subject forest land” in Faridabad’s Khori village, the District Magistrate has prohibited “the gathering of five or more persons” within “200 metres of encroachment area” in the village “till completion of the work”.
In the order, District Magistrate Yashpal stated that the directions have been given after Deputy Commissioner of Police (NIT), in a letter to him on Monday, pointed out that “during removal of encroachment, heavy protest may be initiated by the occupants and there is also a possibility that some miscreants may take advantage of the situation to create unrest that can lead to law and order issue”.
“It has been made to appear to me that the entry of all persons other than staff on duty, including police personnel, is likely to disturb the smooth removal of encroachment in village khori and that carrying of any arms/firearms and any other weapon of offence and assembly of five or more persons within a radius of 200 metres of the village… is likely to cause disruption in the maintenance of peace and tranquillity and smooth removal of encroachment,” states the order.
On June 7, the Supreme Court had directed the Municipal Corporation of Faridabad (MCF) to “take all essential measures to remove encroachments on the subject forest land without any exception, not later than six weeks” from the date of the order. “The State in general and the local police in particular shall give necessary and adequate logistical support to enable the Corporation to implement the directions given by us to evict the occupants/encroachers including by forcible eviction from the subject forest land,” states the order.
The next hearing in the case has been scheduled for July 27.
“The Supreme Court order is very clear that we have to take action within six weeks, and all three of our departments, the Municipal Corporation, District Administration, and police, are working under a strategy. We will conduct the demolition because the orders are very clear,” said Garima Mittal, MCF Commissioner. “We will take action under the strategy, we are definitely speaking with residents, notices have also been issued, but the action will be taken, and will be taken soon,” she said.
Faridabad Police said their personnel are already on alert. DCP (NIT) Dr Anshu Singla said, “When the action is taken, personnel will be deployed with anti-riot equipment to ensure any kind of situation can be handled.”
Residents of structures that are set to be demolished in the coming weeks, however, insist that they will not leave their homes until they have been given alternate accommodation.
Shikha, who has been residing in the village for the last 12 years, and whose home is among the 10,000 units facing demolition, said, “We have been staying here for so long, where do they expect us to go now? If they want us to leave, they should give us alternate accommodation.”
On Tuesday afternoon, Faridabad Police also arrested Nirmal Gorana, the general secretary of the Bandhua Mukthi Morcha, with officials stating that he was conspiring to “disturb the peace of the city” and was instigating a crowd to not accept the decision of the Supreme Court.
“A tip-off was received by personnel at Surajkund police station that a gathering of 100-150 people has been organised at Khori village and a conspiracy is being hatched to oppose the removal of encroachment by pelting stones at police. Some people had set up a tent and were using a mic to make provocative speeches and hinder the maintenance of law and order,” said Faridabad Police PRO Sube Singh.
“A team was immediately sent to the spot, but as soon as they reached, miscreants started raising slogans against the police and administration. They also challenged the police and administration as well as the Supreme Court to remove the encroachment. Covid guidelines were also not being followed in the meeting,” he said.
Officials said an FIR has been registered in the matter against accused Neha, Ali Waris, Phulwa Devi, Roshan, Shabbir, Mangal, Nirmal Gorana, and 100-150 people present at the spot, including the owner of the tent house.
“The main accused Nirmal has been arrested and efforts are being made to arrest the others as well, who managed to escape from the spot. Apart from this, other people in the gathering who were conspiring for rioting are also being identified and they will also be arrested soon,” said the PRO.
In a statement issues on Tuesday evening, “organisations and people’s movements in solidarity with Khori Gaon residents”, including Basti Suraksha Manch, Working Peoples’ Charter, and National Alliance of People’s Movements, however, alleged that Gorana had been “picked up” “without a warrant” around 2.10 pm while he was on his way back after visiting Khori village.
“Despite several requests made by lawyers, Surajkund Police is not informing about his whereabouts. Police are patrolling every street and every intersection in Khori village… arresting people arbitrarily,” alleges the statement.
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