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'Communal Political Game Plan': Brinda Karat Moves SC Against Jahangirpuri Demolitions

Karat, in her petition, has said that she reached Jahangirpuri at 10:45 am on Wednesday and immediately told the authorities present about the status quo orders. However, the demolition continued till at least 12:45 pm.

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New Delhi: Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Brinda Karat, who along with a delegation of Left leaders had on Wednesday visited Jahangirpuri, has moved the Supreme Court against the demolitions that took place in the north Delhi neighbourhood. An “anti-encroachment drive” organised by the Bharatiya Janata Party-run MCD had continued for several hours even after the apex court had ordered status quo.

Karat, in her petition, has said that she reached Jahangirpuri at 10:45 am on Wednesday and immediately told the authorities present about the status quo orders. However, the demolition continued till at least 12:45 pm.

She also criticised the entire exercise being carried out by the MCD, saying that under the guise of encroachment removal, a discriminatory and arbitrary demolition drive is being used as a “communal political game plan”.

“The basic rights of the people — the right to live and the rights to employment and shelter — were violated. At the same time, the demolition led to contempt for the principle of natural justice. Therefore, while cancelling the order of demolition, the court should also fix compensation for these victims and order the government to pay the compensation within a stipulated time frame,” her plea stated, according to India Today.

She also described the drive as an “inhuman, illegal, and immoral” act. The people of Jahangirpuri, she has argued, are not well off and are unable to resist the authorities’ actions.

On Wednesday, when authorities were continuing to run the bulldozer despite the Supreme Court order, Karat and other Left leaders had stood in front of the machine to try and stop it from proceeding.

As The Wire has reported, 20 shops were destroyed during Wednesday’s drive. Muslims residents of Jahangirpuri have said that the anti-encroachment drive was a guise to target the minority community and their livelihoods.

On the evening of Saturday, April 16, communal violence broke out in the north Delhi neighbourhood after a people in a Hanuman Jayanti procession allegedly attempted to wave a saffron flag in front of a local mosque. According to the police, there was stone-pelting and arson during the clashes and some vehicles were also torched.

The BJP-run municipal corporation had organised an impromptu two-day anti-encroachment drive in the area. The drive was undertaken a day after Delhi BJP chief Adesh Gupta wrote to the party-ruled North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) to identify “illegal constructions of rioters” in Jahangirpuri and demolish them using bulldozers.

After the communal violence, a fact-finding team was sent by the Left parties to the area. The team alleged that the police was acting in a partisan manner. “The fact-finding team of the Communist Party India (Marxist) and other Left parties has collected firsthand information from the field and the petitioner has written letter to the Commissioner of Police about the prejudiced and discriminatory approach of the police. Now, under the guise of encroachment removal discriminatory and arbitrary demolition drive is being operated as communal political game plan. The entire action is malafide,” Karat said in her petition, according to LiveLaw.