Days after violence broke out in Jahangirpuri between two groups on the occasion of Hanuman Jayanti, the two-day anti-encroachment drive in the area by Delhi’s BJP-run municipal corporation was stayed by the Supreme Court on Wednesday. Ordering “status quo”, the court said it will continue the hearing on Thursday.
The NDMC had asking Delhi Police for at least 400 personnel to maintain law and order. In its letter to the police, the municipal corporation has said a joint anti-encroachment programme comprising the Public Works Department, Health and Sanitation Department and others are scheduled in Jahangirpuri. Delhi BJP chief Adesh Gupta has also written to the mayor of the North Corporation to identify illegal constructions of “rioters” in Jahangirpuri and demolish them. A copy of the letter was sent to the commissioner of the municipal body.
The demolition drive has triggered a war of words between the BJP and Opposition, with many questioning the saffron party’s reliance on the bulldozer to ensure law and order. The trend began in Uttar Pradesh with Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath earning the moniker ‘Bulldozer Baba’ and spread to Madhya Pradesh as Shivraj Singh Chouhan took a leaf out of Yogi’s books and established his identity as ‘Bulldozer Mama’. The calls to employ similar tactics have now been raised in Karnataka where several right-wing organisations want properties of riot-accused razed.
The move, however, has irked the Opposition, with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi asking to “switch off the bulldozers of hate”. “8 years of big talk has resulted in India having ONLY 8 DAYS of coal stocks. Modi ji, stagflation is looming. Power cuts will crush small industries, leading to more job losses. Switch off the bulldozers of hate and switch on the power plants!” Gandhi said on Twitter.
His colleague Manish Tewari too joined in and said those who instigated the riots should be arrested. “I don’t agree with bulldozer politics, this is against law.”
Earlier, former UP chief minister and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav had critiqued the move, saying: “Uttar Pradesh is in the grip of anarchy and jungle raj. This has been the situation for the last five years. With his hand on the steering of a bulldozer, the chief minister is chasing the opposition while criminals protected by power are wreaking havoc outside.”