The Delhi government has sought a report from three BJP-run municipal corporations on demolition drives carried out in the city since April 1. The development comes days after anti-encroachment drive carried out in various parts of Delhi triggered tensions between the BJP and the ruling Aam Aadmi Party.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had earlier claimed that the anti-encroachment drive in Delhi will render 63 lakh people homeless, adding that if continued it will be the “biggest destruction” in Independent India.
“Delhi has not developed as a planned city. More than 80 per cent of Delhi can be called illegal and encroached upon. Does that mean you will destroy 80 per cent of Delhi?” he asked.
He also questioned the moral, constitutional and legal authority of the BJP-ruled civic bodies to launch such a large-scale drive at the fag end of their terms.
At a meeting with Aam Aadmi Party MLAs earlier this week, Mr Kejriwal told them that they should be ready to go to jail for opposing the anti-encroachment drive.
“They are reaching colonies with bulldozers and razing any shop and house. Even if people show them papers to prove that the structure is not illegal, they do not check them,” he said.
The party is against the way the anti-encroachment drive is being carried out, he said, adding nearly 50 lakh people stay in unauthorised colonies, 10 lakh in ‘jhuggis’ and there are lakhs of people who have modified balconies or done something that does not conform to original maps.
“That means homes and shops of 63 lakh people will be bulldozed. This will be the biggest destruction happening in independent India,” he said.
The anti-encroachment drives by BJP ruled municipal corporations started in the national capital after party president Adesh Gupta wrote letters to the mayors for removing encroachments by Rohingyas and Bangladeshis living illegally in the city.
The demolition in Jahangirpuri, right after communal clashes in the area had grabbed headlines with opposition leaders questioning its timing and motive.
The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) has come under severe criticism after locals and opposition parties called its anti-encroachment drive politically motivated and timed just as the civic body’s term ends on May 18.