Violence mars Bhopal demolition drive, dozens injured

The protests erupted as municipal officials along with police went to demolish an illegal structure.

Bhopal: At least 15 municipal officials were injured after they were attacked by residents of a building during an anti-encroachment drive in the Madhya Pradesh capital Saturday, police said. Officials of the Bhopal Municipal Corporation (BMC) and district administration had gone to demolish two floors of a club in JK Road area Saturday morning, but the residents of the adjacent building thought their houses were about to be demolished.

"Town Inspector Kuber Singh and 14 other staffers were injured in the incident," Superintendent of Police Yogesh Choudhary said to a news agency.

Local residents claimed that at least a dozen people were injured when municipal officials and police attacked them. They also alleged that police arrested some residents too and misbehaved with women. Some passers-by also were beaten up by police, they added.

The residents were panicky as the administration had demolished a part of a mall in the same area earlier this month.

The residents pelted stones at the demolition team and also tried to set ablaze an excavator-bulldozer machine.

The police burst tear gas canisters and resorted to lathi charge to disperse the mob.

Bhopal district Collector Nikunj Srivastava clarified that the encroachment drive was not against residential areas but the club building. "The drive is against illegal construction work of a builder and not against residents. The administration is with residents," he said.