Thursday, September 29, 2022

There is an atmosphere of fear in the Muslim-dominated areas of Delhi and the BJP-led civic bodies are using bulldozers to harass them.

Soon after violence broke out between a Hindutva mob and Muslims in north-west Delhi’s Jahangirpuri on April 19, 2022, there is apprehension and fear in several Muslim-majority areas in the national capital. 16 April.

Adding to their concerns, Bharatiya Janata Party’s Delhi unit chief Adesh Gupta on April 20 wrote to the mayors of south and east Delhi to campaign in their areas to end “encroachment of government land by anti-social elements”.

The North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC), under which Jahangirpuri comes, had launched an anti-encroachment drive following Gupta’s letter on the violence that broke out in the area during the Hanuman Jayanti procession.

This apprehension of demolition in their neighbourhood, has led to many messages falsely warning about the bulldozers headed towards Shaheen Bagh in South Delhi. There were messages that were circulated even at night, in which there was talk of bulldozers coming into this Muslim-majority neighbourhood.

Expressing apprehension, Jamia Nagar resident Sharik Hussain said that people living in Okhla, Batla House and Jamia Nagar are extremely worried. Those who earn their livelihood by selling goods on the roads here are the most troubled. They earn less than Rs 700 a day by selling clothes, artificial jewellery, vegetables and fruits. where will they go? All their pushcarts and belongings are destroyed during these drives in the name of anti-encroachment. Is it a crime to be poor? Hussain asked.

Batla House resident Abid Shah said that the poor have no place. Municipal officials are targeting some areas in the name of anti-encroachment and sabotage. “Most of the colonies, shops and hawkers in this area have not been legalised. But what is wrong with people in this? Governments are to blame for this. When they want votes, they all flock here and then talk of destruction,” he said.

The sentiment was further heightened after the South Delhi Municipal Corporation issued a schedule, stating that a special task force would address issues related to violation of building bye-laws under the Master Plan of Delhi – 2021.

It has been said in the notice that there will be a program to remove encroachment in Govindpuri area on Monday 25 April. Jaitpur and Mettapur Chowk area on Tuesday 26 April; Nehru Nagar, Lajpat Nagar, Veer Savarkar Marg and Feroze Gandhi Marg on Wednesday 27th April; Sarita Vihar, Jasola area Thursday, April 28; and Mohan Cooperative Industrial Area, Badarpur, Okhla Phase II on Friday, 29 April.

As per the procedure, the SDMC had requested the local police to provide staff to maintain law and order during the encroachment drive. The campaign could not be conducted in Sarita Vihar on Thursday, April 28, as the local police station noted that they would need to be informed at least 10 days in advance for the SDMC to be able to provide staff for such an operation. .

Women’s rights activist and former member of the Planning Commission of India Syeda Hameed said the SDMC team along with Mayor Mukesh Suryan visited the areas around the Jamia College campus – parts of Sarita Vihar, Jaitpur and Madanpur Khadar – to help people To warn that there will be a campaign on May 17th. The excuse was that Bangladeshis and Rohingyas were living in this area. They also visited Shaheen Bagh, Abul Fazal and Pushta.

“Women of the area told that they have been living and working there for decades. There is apprehension and worry because of the fear that many of their homes will be destroyed. How are people going to celebrate Eid after getting such news? This is such a traitor,” said Hameed.

Journalist TS Firoz underlined that if civic authorities are campaigning to remove encroachments, it is acceptable; But it is shameful if they are doing this to target a community. “Delhi is mostly full of unauthorized colonies. Instead MCD should work on those vehicles which are illegally parked on the road. MCD should focus on making the lives of the people easier and should not target the poor people,” reiterated Firoz.

On Wednesday, Suryan said the civic body’s survey would continue as they found large-scale illegal constructions and encroachments along the Yamuna floodplains, where illegal immigrants have settled.

The tenure of the existing municipal bodies will end on May 18. “MCD elections are likely to be held soon and these civic authorities are destroying living areas in the name of beautifying Delhi where Muslims are in majority. Where are these people going? Many people will become homeless and will have no way to earn their living,” lamented Hameed.

Voicing the unease within the community at Shaheen Bagh, the co-convenor of the Shaheen Bagh movement, Shoaib Jamai said, “There is a feeling of helplessness as we do not have power. We are emotionally distressed and tired. We can only draw the attention of the world to the atrocities being committed against us. Mainstream media is trying to justify the illegal act of BJP. The ruling party is deliberately trying to target the areas of poor Muslims to satisfy their voter base.

Jamai wondered whether the municipal authorities would ever stop the encroachment done by Delhi BJP President Adesh Gupta. “Fascist forces may bulldoze structures in our regions, but they cannot undermine our courage and faith in the Constitution,” Jamai said bravely.

There is shock and questions are being raised on the stand of many political parties. “Some part of this area comes under the constituency of Aam Aadmi Party MLA Atishi Marlena. Instead of supporting the people, she has gone here to present the Delhi model of governance. Is she going to show this kind of governance?” asked Hameed.

In the first press conference after the Jahangirpuri violence, Gupta alleged that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had supported Rohingyas and Bangladeshis, who were expelled from their land in Yamuna Khadar by the Uttar Pradesh government last year.

AAP leaders, including Atishi Marlena and Health Minister Satyendar Jain, attacked the BJP, claiming it was responsible for settling Rohingyas and Bangladeshis across the country.

The latter community is concerned about the mixing of Indian Muslims with Bangladeshi migrants and Rohingyas. “All politicians use our name and then we are targeted. We do not understand the agenda of shaming our community,” said Ali Johar, co-director of the Rohingya Human Rights Initiative.

Jauhar pointed out that after a fire broke out at a Rohingya refugee camp in Madanpur Khadar last year, the SDMC officials had built emergency shelters where most of the people are still living. He wondered why the civic body would destroy the works created by him.

“Everyone living in the camp has UN refugee cards. None of us want Indian citizenship. We all want to go back to our country,” said Johar.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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