New Delhi: Bulldozers razed several structures in violence-hit Jahangirpuri on Wednesday during an anti-encroachment drive by the North Delhi Municipal Corporation but it was stopped within hours following a Supreme Court order.
The anti-encroachment drive continued even after the Supreme Court directed authorities to stop it.
An NDMC official, requesting anonymity, said the drive continued because of the absence of a written order from the Supreme Court.
It was stopped as soon as the order was received, the official added.
The Supreme Court directed the apex court Secretary-General to convey the earlier order to stop demolition in the riots-hit Jahangirpuri here to the NDMC Mayor and the Delhi Police Commissioner immediately.
A bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana, in the forenoon, ordered the stopping of the drive and also agreed to hear a petition challenging the action of the civic bodies allegedly aimed against the accused of the communal offences.
Despite the apex court's directions, bulldozers were seen razing structures near a mosque in Jahangirpuri's C Block where a violence had erupted on April 16. The drive went on for 1.5 hours.
However, North Delhi Municipal Corporation Mayor Raja Iqbal Singh said the drive has been stopped in the wake of Supreme Court's order.
"We will follow the Supreme Court orders. We have stopped the drive. The civic machinery there is now only lifting the garbage and other items lying on the roads in the area," Singh told PTI.
Meanwhile, heavy police and paramilitary forces were deployed ahead of the drive.
Officials said security forces were carrying out a flag march in the area and they took stock of the situation before the drive was launched. A drone has also been deployed to monitor the situation.
Ahead of the drive, people in Jahangirpuri C Block voluntarily removed their belongings from roadsides, they said.
The area witnessed violent clashes, including stone pelting, arson and firing, between two communities during a Hanuman Jayanti procession on Saturday. Eight police personnel and a local resident had sustained injuries.
Switch off bulldozers of hate: Rahul
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday attacked the government over the use of bulldozers in violence-hit areas of Delhi and Madhya Pradesh, and urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to switch off "bulldozers of hate" and switch on power plants.
Gandhi's reference was to the use of bulldozers in the anti-encroachment drive in Delhi's violence-hit Jahangirpuri and in Madhya Pradesh against people who the BJP alleges have indulged in rioting.
The Congress said on Twitter that "not only houses are being demolished by bulldozers, our Constitution is being demolished".
"Riding on the bulldozer of hate, the ruling BJP is totally disturbed. These people have fallen to this low level only to divert the attention of the people from the issues of inflation and unemployment. That is why it is necessary to raise voice against this hatred," the party said.
Democracy being bulldozed: Brinda
CPM politburo member Brinda Karat said democracy was being bulldozed at Jahangirpuri. Karat sat in front of the earth-movers and urged the officials to stop the demolition drive.
She arrived at the demolition site with a copy of the SC order and asked the officials to implement it.