The South Delhi Municipal Corporation, led by the Bharatiya Janata Party, will launch a month-long demolition campaign, Mayor Mukesh Suryan announced on Monday, PTI reported.
Suryan said the campaign will likely be held in Shaheen Bagh, Okhla and Tilak Nagar among other areas under the jurisdiction of South Delhi Municipal Corporation. However, the mayor does not have the power to order such actions.
Shaheen Bagh and Okhla were two of many sites where protests against the Citizenship Law took place in 2019. Many protesters were Muslim.
The development came five days after the BJP-led North Delhi Municipal Corporation razed the front gate of the Jahangirpuri Mosque and several shops, houses and other structures in the neighborhood. The structures were mostly owned by Muslims.
The demolition campaign was carried out just four days after the locality was hit by communal violence. Eight policemen and a civilian were injured after a clash between members of the Hindu and Muslim communities during a Hanuman Jayanti procession.
The demolition campaign continued despite Supreme Court instructions to stop it. He was only arrested after Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Brinda Karat brought an electronic copy of the order to the site herself.
A day later, BJP unit chief in Delhi, Adesh Gupta, said civic bodies in the eastern and southern parts of the city should also carry out demolition campaigns to “eliminate illegal encroachments by Bangladeshis and Rohingyas”.
On Monday, Suryan said a meeting was held to discuss an action plan for the campaign, PTI reported. He said sites were still being identified and a final list would be prepared soon.
“The Vishnu Garden in the western area of Tilak Nagar is an area where Rohingyas and Bangladeshis have encroached on government land and where a lot of illegal activities take place,” he said. “So we identified those places as well.”
The mayor said regular meetings are held every month and action is taken against suspected encroachments.
“Last week in Nazafgarh, we organized an anti-encroachment campaign at Gandhi market in Sagarpur, where people had encroached on the drain,” Suryan said, ANI reported. “Some Bangladeshis have also captured government land and are operating factories. We will remove the encroachment and have the lands released from the government and dedicated to the public.
Notices will be sent beforehand, he said, adding that “invaders will not be spared,” PTI reported.
The mayor, however, also said that notices are never served on people to remove encroachments under the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act.
“But in places where people have illegally built buildings or illegally made offices, they have already been given notice,” he added. “They can ignore reviews, but we have them recorded. We will take action in accordance with the notices.