At Jahangirpuri, Bulldozers crush livelihoods

File Photo

Sheikh Abdul Mannan was not aware about the demolition drive that took the employment of many living in Block-C of Jahangirpuri. When he woke up at 8 am, he got to know about the North MCD’s demolition drive.

Around 9 in the morning North MCD officials reached the locality to start its two-day anti-encroachment drive. A fleet of bulldozers and heavy police force deployment presented a daunting sight.

“For the last six days, I have had no work. I have to earn and feed my family of nine members but now they have demolished the place where I used to stand with my vegetable cart”, says Abdul Mannan.

Sheikh Abdul Mannan was at home with his whole family when North MCD started razing their bathroom. “My whole family used this place to take bath but now only ruins are left, and they have also damaged the water supply pipe. Now where we will go to drink water and where we will take bath?” asks Mannan in despair.

Mannan is not alone; the whole lane in front of his home was demolished by the committee officials. What was once a bustling vegetable and meat market is now in ruins.

North MCD officials started their demolition drive from the Kali Mata Mandir in Block-C and then step by step, a pan shop, a scrap dealers shop and front gate of the mosque was demolished. This drive ended around 1 pm after the Supreme Court’s intervention.

SC passed the order in response to a plea filed by Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind. The order was passed by a bench led by CJI NV Ramanna. But the demolition drive continued and later it was halted when North MDC received a written order from the court.

“Around 11:30 pm, I received a call from my elder brother informing me about the eviction,” says Sheikh Atiyar, a meat vendor. “Without wasting any time, I removed my shop but I lost all the livestock. This cost me a loss of Rs 5,000. Without a workplace, from where will I earn to feed my family of ten members?”.

Shiekh Manju Ali, whose vegetable cart was demolished, was looking disgruntled. “I got to know about the demolition around 11 am but by then they had reached my cart. I don’t know why they are doing this during Ramzan. At least they should have given us time,” says Manju Ali.

Asina Begum, sitting next to Ali, was worrying about her future. In a dejected tone, she said, “Someone has cursed us. In our slum, when a Hindu living alone died, the whole locality cremated him. We are a peaceful and loving locality, I don’t know why they are doing this to us”.

Ganesh Kumar Gupta’s DDA-allotted juice shop was also razed by the administration. He was sitting on a plastic chair outside his destroyed shop and was asking his workers to collect the ruins. “ I thought they were here to raze illegal shops but I was not aware that they will also demolish legal shops allotted by DDA. I pleaded with the corporation officers, even showed them my papers, but they were unconvinced. Before this they have come here many times for demolition drives but my papers have always protected me. This time they did not hear me and destroyed my shop”, says Gupta.

Local residents are questioning why only one locality of the area was targeted. They are also asking why this came after the 16 April violence. Now people of Block-C, a Muslim dominated locality are collecting what remains in the ruins and they are hoping a day comes when the status quo ante can be restored.

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Anmol Nath Bali
Reporter at Patriot | | + posts

Anmol covers education, civic and general news for Patriot.