SC stops controversial demolition drive at Jahangirpuri

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The C-block of Jahangirpuri in north-west Delhi, where a Hanuman Jayanti procession led to communal riots last Saturday, was angered by North Corporation bulldozers on Wednesday. In response to a letter from Delhi BJP chief Aadesh Gupta on Tuesday calling for action against the illegal construction of riot suspects in the area, the civic body sent out nine destruction machines early in the morning and started clearing a road under the watchful eye of more than 1,500 police personnel and paramilitary forces.

Responding to an urgent plea on behalf of affected persons from the Muslim community through senior advocate Dushyant Dave, a bench headed by Chief Justice NV Ramana ordered status quo at the site chosen for the demolition drive against encroachments.

When the bench ordered status quo, senior advocate Kapil Sibal sought urgent hearing on a PIL filed by Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind seeking a direction to BJP-governed states to stop employing bulldozers to demolish commercial and residential properties of Muslims accused of rioting or pelting stones at Hindu processions. The bench agreed to list Jamiat’s petition for detailed hearing on Thursday.

Though the bench passed the status quo order at around 10.50am, it could not be typed and signed as the judges were busy hearing other listed matters. Since the order was not produced before NDMC officials, the demolition drive continued. At around 12.15pm, Dave complained to the CJI-led bench regarding the matter. The bench asked the court registry to communicate the order to the Mayor of NDMC and Delhi Police, and ask them to stop the drive till the court hears the matter on Thursday.

By Abhishek Purohit

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