Demolitions paused in Mehrauli Archaeological Park area after Delhi High Court’s stay order

Reprieve for residents as court halts demolitions until demarcation completed


February 17, 2023

/ By / New Delhi

Demolitions paused in Mehrauli Archaeological Park area after Delhi High Court’s stay order

Demolitions continued in Mehrauli Archaeological Park area for the fifth consecutive day amid heavy deployment of police personnel and DDA (Photo: Mohsina Malik)

Demolitions of homes and shops in Mehrauli Archaeological Park in south Delhi continued for the fifth consecutive day as police personnel and Delhi Development Authority (DDA) officials ignored protests by residents of the area. The affected persons have also moved the Delhi High Court seeking a stay on demolition to which the court issued a notice on the plea on Tuesday seeking directions to restrain DDA from carrying out further demolition near the area until a fresh demarcation is conducted.

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On February 14, despite the protests by residents from different colonies of Mehrauli and their moving to the Delhi High Court seeking a stay on demolition of their homes and shops, the demolitions continued in Mehrauli Archaeological Park area in South Delhi for the fifth consecutive day amid heavy deployment of police personnel and DDA.

The authorities razed several shops and houses in the area. The residents accused the government of snatching their homes and forcing them and their families onto the roads. The residents filed a petition in the Delhi High Court (DHC) demanding a stay on the demolition drive while responding to the plea, the DHC issued a notice on Tuesday to DDA to restrain from carrying further demolition drive in the area until a new demarcation is conducted.

In a statement, the DDA on Friday stated that the drive is a part of reclaiming the government land for the rightful use of it by all the citizens and will continue the drive until March 9.

The authorities as a part of the anti-encroachment drive have identified nearly 20 multi-storey buildings, a large number of shops and houses, and a private school building among the structures constructed illegally over the last few decades in the area.

The residents are not happy with the demolition of their houses and shops and claim that this drive is an act of hooliganism and a way of snatching their homes who have been living there for years. The residents say that around 30,000 families would be affected due to the demolition drive.

“I have been living here for the last 20 years and constructed the house with blood and sweat after saving each penny of mine. Now the government has destructed my house and left me with no option. Where I have to go, I have no idea and where my children will live in this condition, only god knows,” Praveen Kumar, a 35-year-old man tells Media India Group.

“It is an inhuman act and way of suppressing us with power. All those schemes of the government are fake and never applicable in any way to us,” Kumar adds.

The union government’s promise of Jahan Jhuggi Wahan Makaan scheme yet has fallen short, as a massive anti-encroachment drive in Mehrauli is taking place ahead of the G20 Summit, which is planned to be hosted at the archaeological park.

“While my house was being demolished, I showed the authority, the documents of my house but they refused to look at them and said we do not want to see that as we already have our records,” says Rajesh Sharma, a 67-year-old elderly man from Mehrauli.

“We were given a notice a few days back but we were not sure this will happen soon. If we knew, at least we could have managed to take our belongings out and look for a new house during that time but the authority came suddenly and started demolishing our houses. The government should now compensate us or provide us with shelter. The government has now woken up and claimed the lands after ages and pasted notices on the walls of our houses, giving us only a few days to vacate the land,” Sharma adds.

The authorities have announced that the new demarcation process will take place and a report regarding the same will be prepared in the upcoming days.

“How many times do they have to do the demarcation now, when they know they have to snatch our homes and leave us hopeless?” asks Preeti Shukla, a 38-year-old resident of Mehrauli.

“We have been living on the roads since our house was demolished and we do not know where we are supposed to go at this time and how we will manage everything so quickly,” Shukla adds.





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