West Delhi slumdwellers attack cops during demolition drivehttps://indianexpress.com/article/news-archive/web/west-delhi-slumdwellers-attack-cops-during-demolition-drive/

West Delhi slumdwellers attack cops during demolition drive

A protest against demolition by residents of a jhuggi jhopdi cluster turned violent in West Delhi’s Mianwali Nagar on Saturday morning.

A protest against demolition by residents of a jhuggi jhopdi cluster turned violent in West Delhi’s Mianwali Nagar on Saturday morning.

Police said 11 personnel were injured in the violence,after which they had to resort to use tear gas shells and lathicharge to control the mob.

Officials said two police vehicles and a bulldozer were damaged by angry residents.

Residents said MCD officials pasted eviction notices in the colony on Friday evening,telling people to vacate their homes by Saturday morning. “When the bulldozers and officials arrived at 11.30 am,a group representing residents went to meet them. They requested officials to give people more time,but their requests fell on deaf ears. Around 10-15 houses were demolished,” Ramesh Kumar,a resident,said.

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The demolition drive was called off after Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and Lieutenant-Governor,Tejendra Khanna intervened. “A few residents informed us of the situation and we immediately told the MCD commissioner to stop the demolition,” Dikshit said.

Before the authorities could intervene,residents threw stones at policemen. Additional Commissioner of Police (West) V Renganathan said,“The residents attacked policemen. Eleven police personnel were injured and had to be taken to a hospital. Six civilians also suffered injuries in the riot,which lasted around 20 minutes.”

Renganathan said a case of rioting and damage to public property was registered.

Zaheer Haq,an autorickshaw driver injured in the violence,said,“When the bulldozers reached the first set of homes,a group of men started throwing stones. Policemen tried to catch them but many other people began attacking police vehicles and personnel. They lobbed tear gas shells and lathicharged us.”

On Saturday evening,many people were seen sitting outside their homes with their belongings.

“After what happened in the morning,I am sure the demolition will take place. More than 300 persons attacked the police and we are afraid that we will be thrown out without any notice. It is safer to spend the night outside than to sleep in our homes.”

Senior officials of the North Municipal Corporation said,“The slums are on the right of way of a colony and we were acting on the court’s order.”

Prithvi Singh Rathore,Congress councillor from Peergarhi,said,“Officials pasted notices at 9 pm on Friday and asked slumdwellers to leave the place by next evening. They have been living here since 1985 and have valid documentation like rations cards. The Delhi High Court has said that people need to be rehabilitated before any demolition is carried out.”

L-G’s Officer on Special Duty (OSD) Group Captain Ranjan Mukherjee stated that the L-G had directed Delhi Chief Secretary,P K Tripathi to hold meetings to determine a rehabilitation policy concerning the residents of the locality before the next date of the HC hearing on October 19.