DDA demolishes religious structure; clashes hurt 6

Six persons, including four policemen, were injured here on Wednesday when police used batons to disperse a group of people who indulged in stone-pelting to protest the demolition of a religious structure illegally built on government land.

Updated: Jan 12, 2011, 22:31 PM IST

New Delhi: Six persons, including four
policemen, were injured here on Wednesday when police used batons to
disperse a group of people who indulged in stone-pelting to
protest the demolition of a religious structure illegally
built on government land.

The demolition was carried out by Delhi Development
Authority (DDA) in south-east Delhi`s Jangpura-B Block area at
around 6 AM on the orders of Delhi High Court, amidst heavy
police presence.
The protestors also blocked the busy Delhi-Mathura Road
the whole day causing inconvenience to commuters, including
those headed to the Hazrat Nizamuddin Railway Station.

In the afternoon, protestors marched towards the site of
the demolished structure. Police lobbed teargas shells and
used batons to disperse the protestors, who tried to reach the
site and offer prayers.

"A large number of people gathered in front of the Hazrat
Nizamuddin police station and marched towards the demolition
spot. They were prevented from entering the spot.

"They broke the barricades and tried to reach there. We
had to resort to hurling teargas shells and using some force,"
a senior police official said.

The protestors included Jangpura MLA Tarvinder Singh
Marwah, who claimed that he was also among a few demonstrators
who suffered injuries in the incident.

Later in the evening, the protestors who had assembled
in front of Nizamuddin police station throughout the day
indulged in stone-pelting forcing the police to again resort
to using "mild force" to disperse them.

A senior police official said six persons, including
four policemen, suffered minor injuries in the incident. Some
vehicles were also damaged in the stone-pelting.

Earlier in the day, Ahmed Bukhari, Shahi Imam of Jama
Masjid and LJP MLA Shoaib Iqbal had addressed the protestors
besides local MLA Marwah. Senior CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat
also visited the protestors.

According to DDA officials, the religious structure was
built illegally on DDA land and was demolished after a
committee approved it.
"A slum and this structure had come up in the DDA land.
We had cleared the slums earlier but did not touch the
structure as we needed a clearance from the committee looking
into demolition of such structures. We also had been directed
by the High Court to carry out the demolition," they said.

Protestors blocked Mathura Road at Nizamuddin crossing
which led to huge traffic pile-up at Ashram Chowk as well as
near Hotel Oberoi. Later, traffic was diverted easing the
traffic jam.

Bukhari claimed that the religious structure was built
on Wakf land and not on DDA land.

Passengers headed to Nizamuddin railway station were a
harrowed lot as protestors and police did not allow any
vehicle on the route.

"We didn`t want any fight with anyone but wanted to
offer our prayers at the site," Wasif Khan, a resident of
Nizamuddin, said.

Residents had to face movement restrictions due to
police barricades placed in the area.

Some protestors took out their anger on a photographer
who was walking beside the protest march, hitting him and
trying to snatch his camera.

The Shahi Imam of Fatehpuri Masjid Maulana Mufti M
Mukarram Ahmed condemned the demolition and demanded that the
structure be rebuilt.

PTI