India: Hasty Anti-encroachment Effort Leaves Trail Of Misery In Delhi’s Jahangirpuri

On Wednesday, riot-hit Jahangirpuri was a scene of devastation, misery, and helplessness after the North Delhi Municipal Corporation launched an “anti-encroachment” sweep that left the area’s stores in ruins and its residents, largely Muslims, without a source of income. The area’s revered Jama Masjid gate and boundary walls were also destroyed during the drive, in addition to the stores.

While the roofs and outer walls of some of the stores were partially destroyed, the majority of the temporary constructions were entirely destroyed.

Shopkeepers, the majority of whom live in the vicinity, claimed that they had not received any prior notice from the local authority and that no one had raised a problem throughout the years that the stores had been open, “but only demolished them after the communal unrest.”

The Delhi municipal corporation’s hasty anti-encroachment demolition effort has left a trail of ruin and misery in its wake, cutting across fault lines, just days after a Hanuman Jayanti procession in the neighborhood provoked communal violence. Demolition drives have followed recent communal riots in numerous districts of India.

Authorities arrived with bulldozers and proceeded to demolish many Muslim-owned businesses and structures until calling a halt to the demolitions on Wednesday. Residents were locked behind an iron fence as the demolitions took place, and individuals were also imprisoned for filming the event.

Many members of the opposition parties, such as Rahul Gandhi, Mamata Banerjee, and Asaddudin Owaisi lashed out at the government, calling it a vengeful display of power. Other celebrities from the entertainment industry also expressed discontent with the incident, voicing support for the victims of the demolitions.

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