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Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Jahangirpuri drive: Oppn attacks State ‘targeting’ poor, AAP says raze BJP HQ to end riots

“This is a demolition of India’s constitutional values. This is state-sponsored targeting of poor and minorities. BJP must bulldoze the hatred in their hearts instead,” senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi tweeted.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: April 21, 2022 7:36:25 am
Several street carts and parts of shops were demolished in the exercise. (Express photo by Praveen Khanna)

Opposition parties criticised the anti-encroachment drive held by the BJP-controlled North Delhi Municipal Corporation in the clashes-hit Jahangirpuri on Wednesday, with both the Congress and Aam Aadmi Party accusing the BJP of trying to stoke more violence.

“This is a demolition of India’s constitutional values. This is state-sponsored targeting of poor & minorities. BJP must bulldoze the hatred in their hearts instead,” senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi tweeted.

AAP leader and Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said that the only way to end hooliganism in the country was to bulldoze the BJP headquarters.

CPM leader Brinda Karat, among the only political leaders to come to Jahangirpuri in protest against the demolition, stood in front of one of the bulldozers waving a copy of the Supreme Court order ordering status quo on the matter.

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“The BJP is providing a discourse to the country today to talk only about ladai-jhadga and hooliganism,” Sisodia said, accusing it of going about it “in a scripted way”. However, Sisodia seemed to back the theory that illegal immigrants were behind the violence. “BJP netas are talking about Rohingya. The BJP must give an estimate of how many Rohingya and Bangladeshis have settled here in the past eight years and where. Once the BJP says how many Rohingya and Bangladeshis have settled and where, we will know where the next riot will happen,” the Deputy CM said.

Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav accused the BJP of turning the bulldozer into “a symbol of its illegal power”. “Muslims and minorities, backwards and Dalits are their target,” Akhilesh said. In Uttar Pradesh, the first state to deploy bulldozers after violent incidents such as at Jahangirpuri, several properties of SP leaders have been razed.

The BJP and AAP have been trading charges over the communal violence in Jahangirpuri on Saturday, during a Hanuman Jayanti procession, each claiming that Ansar, one of the main accused, had links with the other.

On Tuesday, the North MCD had announced the anti-encroachment drive, saying it had sought security for the exercise, to be spread over Wednesday and Thursday in Jahangirpuri. Delhi BJP president Adesh Gupta also wrote to the North MCD Mayor, demanding identification and demolition of “illegal encroachment” and construction by those arrested in the Jahangirpuri violence.

People watch the anti-encroachment drive at the site of stone-pelting where clashes erupted between two communities, at Jahangirpuri in New Delhi. (Express photo by Praveen Khanna)

Sisodia said: “The illegal constructions have been demolished, now the homes of those BJP netas should be demolished who gave protection to them. The BJP has not done anything for schools, hospitals, rising prices… They have only encouraged fighting. If the hooliganism must stop, the easiest way to do it is to bulldoze the BJP headquarters. This drama of breaking illegal encroachments is being done now. In the past 15 years, why did the MCD allow these encroachments to come up… which neta of the BJP took money and made those constructions?”

The BJP has been in power in three of the four municipal corporations in Delhi for 15 years now.

A view of the site where anti-encroachment drive was carried out at Jahangirpuri in New Delhi. (Express photo by Praveen Khanna)

Delhi Congress chief Anil Chaudhary said the anti-encroachment drive was an excuse to poison the discourse among people. “What is the BJP trying to achieve by sending bulldozers to an area where communal tension is rife? It is clear that BJP and AAP leaders are involved in these cases and don’t want peace to prevail,” he said.

Chaudhary also questioned AAP convenor and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal’s silence. “The way BJP leaders are passing statements, it is clear they are only building a wall of intolerance. The only hope is the Supreme Court,” he said.

Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi to address the nation and condemn the violence. “People in power should stop attempts to foment violence and condemn it. But just the opposite is happening,” he said.

In a reference to the communal incident in Rajasthan’s Karauli on Ram Navami. Gehlot said: “I have heard that the PM is calling MPs from Rajasthan and asking them what they were doing.”

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