CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat blocks bulldozer amid demolition drive in Delhi

Brinda Karat was seen blocking the bulldozer with a Supreme Court order copy in hand, which had ordered the demolition to stop.
CPIM leader Brinda Karat standing in front of a bulldozer during demolition drive in Delhi's Jahangirpuri despite Supreme Court order stalling it
CPIM leader Brinda Karat standing in front of a bulldozer during demolition drive in Delhi's Jahangirpuri despite Supreme Court order stalling it
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As authorities razed several buildings in Delhi’s Jahangirpuri which had witnessed communal violence earlier on April 16 during a Hanuman Jayanti procession, CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat stood in front of a bulldozer blocking it. She stood while holding a copy of a Supreme Court order from earlier in the morning of April 20 directing the authorities to stop the demolition drive. 

Around noon, Karat was seen blocking the bulldozer with the court order copy in hand. “I have come here because the Supreme Court had given a status quo order at 10.45 am. Our senior lawyer was present in the court and I have the court order. I am here to meet officers and demand the implementation of Supreme Court orders. I am here to stop the bulldozer which is disregarding the law and the Supreme Court order,” Karat told the media.  

The ‘anti-encroachment’ drive by the North Delhi Municipal Corporation continued for one-and-a-half hours even after the Supreme Court directed authorities to stop it. A civic official, requesting anonymity, said the drive continued because of the absence of a written order from the Supreme Court, according to PTI. It was stopped as soon as the order was received, the official added. The Supreme Court directed the apex court’s Secretary-General to convey the earlier order to stop demolition in riot-hit Jahangirpuri to the NDMC Mayor and the Delhi Police Commissioner immediately.

A bench headed by Chief Justice NV 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 communal offences. Despite the apex court's directions, bulldozers were seen razing structures near a mosque in Jahangirpuri's C Block where violence had erupted on April 16. 

North Delhi Municipal Corporation Mayor Raja Iqbal Singh said the drive has been stopped in the wake of the 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 claimed. 

The area witnessed communal violence, including stone-pelting, arson and firing, during a Hanuman Jayanti procession on Saturday, April 16. Eight police personnel and a local resident had sustained injuries.

With PTI inputs

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