The Delhi Police on Thursday arrested Amanatullah Khan, AAP legislator from Okhla, and five others, for obstructing the civic authorities and police personnel from carrying out anti-encroachment drives in his constituency. Police have registered a case under Section 186/332/353/147/148/149/153 of the Indian Penal Code (for rioting and obstructing public servants in discharge of their duty). The arrest followed a day-long detention of the MLA in police custody after he got embroiled in a clash with the South Delhi Municipal Corporation's (SDMC) anti-encroachment team and policemen in the Southeast Delhi's Madanpur Khadar area.
This is the fourth day of the ‘anti encroachment drive’ by the civic agencies across the national Capital. Besides Madanpur Khadar, the demolition drive was also executed at Sriniwaspuri, Khayala, Punjabi Bagh, Sagarpur and Dabri in the Southeast Delhi area. Khan, who had reached the Madanpur Khadar area at around 12 P.M., was joined by the locals in raising slogans against SDMC officials and police personnel, trying to stop them from carrying out a demolition drive in the Kanchan Kunj area.
A senior police official said that earlier in the day a few protestors and Khan were detained and there was minor stone pelting but later the crowd was dispersed.
Police personnel wearing helmets and armed with batons remained stationed at Kanchan Kunj area to ensure smooth execution of the demolition drive. “I will support the civic body if there is any encroachment. But there is no encroachment in the area.
In fact, people are themselves removing the encroachment, if any. But the civic body’s mindless move is leaving people without shelter. I am ready to go to jail if it saves the houses of poor people,” said Khan.
Talking to The Pioneer, Rajpal Singh, the SDMC’s Central Zone Chairman said that the drive started at around 11:00 A.M. and continued till 5:00 P.M.. Two illegal permanent structures on encroached land and several temporary structures including kiosks and sheds were removed.
He said that almost 80 civic agency officials along with four JCB bulldozers and 12 trucks with adequate police forces and paramilitary personnel were deployed.
“The encroachment from the pavements, roads and footpaths needs to be removed as these cause traffic jams on the streets,” Singh said
On its part, the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NMC) removed illegal encroachment from Rohini at KN Katju Marg, Karol Bagh at Prem Nagar area and Turkman Gate. However, no protests were reported.
According to a senior NMC official, at the KN Katju Marg around 200 police personnel and paramilitary personnel were deployed to help the civic body carry out the demolition drive.
NMC Commissioner Sanjay Goel said that during the anti-encroachment drive at KN Katju Marg in Rohini Zone around 120 temporary structures including shanties and about a 1,500 meter of stretch on both sides of the road was cleared.“Various encroached areas were cleared in Prem Nagar zone. The teams also cleared garbage and it took 20 rounds of trucks to clear the site,” Goel said.
At the Turkman Gate, the demolition team including from the Licencing Department and Engineering Department of the concerned zone seized 34 articles and removed 22 vendors,” Goel added. Meanwhile, the NMC has requested the Station House Officer (SHO) of Samaypur Badli and Bawana police stations to ensure adequate force including women police officials to help the anti-encroachment demolition teams to carry out demolition drives.