‘AAP supporting Rohingyas and Bangladeshis’ says Delhi BJP Chief
Protests today erupted in Delhi's Shaheen Bagh area, which was a key centre of a prolonged agitation against the Citizenship Amendment Act in 2019-20, as hundreds of people opposed the local civic body's anti-encroachment drive armed with bulldozers in presence of heavy police deployment.
Following the protest, the BJP-controlled South Delhi Municipal Corporation officials, who were part of the anti-encroachment drive, returned without conducting the demolition, an official said.
Protesters raised slogans against South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) as well as the federal government and demanded that the action should be stopped. Some women protestors also stood in front of bulldozers to prevent the exercise, reports our New Delhi correspondent.
Earlier in the day, leaders from Delhi's ruling Aam Aadmi Party and Congress also reached the spot and staged sit-ins.
The protest also caused heavy traffic congestions in Shaheen Bagh, Kalindi Kunj, Jaitpur, Sarita Vihar and Mathura Road among other areas.
SDMC's Central Zone Chairman Rajpal Singh told PTI that the "illegal structures" could not be removed due to the protest.
Shaheen Bagh was the centre of protests and sit-ins against the CAA, which gives Indian citizenship to "persecuted" religious minorities from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan, for several weeks till the agitation was called off in March 2020 when the Covid-19 pandemic had struck India's national capital city.
Last month, an anti-encroachment drive conducted by the North Delhi Municipal Corporation in Jahangirpuri area, which witnessed violence between two communities on April 16, drew widespread criticism. The Supreme Court had to intervene to stop the action there.
Paramilitary forces were also deployed in Shaheen Bagh today to manage the situation, the officials said.
Akbar, a 40-year-old shopkeeper at Kalindi Kunj main road in Shaheen Bagh, said, "Bulldozers had come in the morning around 11:30 to this area but they left as there were no such encroachments here. People were told and they removed their carts. There was nothing to be removed. Bulldozers left without doing anything."
Delhi Congress leaders, including party's media cell vice chairman Parvez Alam, were among those detained by the police.
'AAP AND ITS MLAS ARE SUPPORTING ROHINGYAS AND BANGLADESHIS'
Delhi BJP Chief Adesh Gupta criticised Congress and AAP for opposing anti-encroachment drive in Shaheen Bagh.
"Today it's proved that AAP and its MLAs are supporting Rohingyas and Bangladeshis. It's unfortunate that AAP and Congress are opposing removal of encroachment in Shaheen Bagh. I urge AAP and Congress not to link encroachment with religion," he said.
The plan for the anti-encroachment drive comes after Gupta wrote to the mayors of South and East corporations on April 20 seeking "the removal of encroachments by Rohingyas, Bangladeshis and anti-social elements" in their areas.