In what could be termed only as daring the law to take action against their crimes (“Ek Toh Chori, Upar Sey Seena Jori”), the residents and shopkeepers of Hansapuri staged a stiff opposition to the Anti-Encroachment Drive undertaken by NMC.
The NMC had undertaken an Anti-Encroachment drive on June 27, 2014. When the squad went there, they had allegedly said that they are there just to break the wall of a small nullah situated in Hansapuri area.
However, taking advantage of the vacated buildings, they broke 14-15 buildings. According to NMC officials, these buildings were an encroachment even if they had succeeded in making pucca buildings. The residents claimed that they have been paying taxes too. Most of the residents of these buildings are poor labourers. There are 40 residents in these buildings.
The High Court had issued orders in 2011 to remove all encroachments. However, because of the intervention of some political leaders, they succeeded in getting a stay from the court against demolishing of the buildings.
However, three days ago, the NMC had issued notices to them to vacate the buildings, which the residents deny.
On June 27, 2014, when the NMC officials had taken a JCB and had demolished the houses, the residents were left fuming. In retaliation to the demolition of their houses, they started throwing stones, canes, wood etc on the officials. They also succeeded in breaking the windshield of the JCB. They had also attacked the driver of the JCB. When there was a sustained attack, the driver of the JCB deserted his vehicle. They started throwing stones on the policemen who had accompanied the NMC officials for the encroachment demolition drive.
Nagpur Today spoke to some of the residents of the demolished buildings. They said that they have been living in these building for the past 40 years. The grandchildren of some of the residents are living in these buildings since the original residents had long died.
When the situation became tense, former MLA Anees Ahmed arrived at the spot and tried to intermediate between the residents and the NMC officials of the demolition drive. However, the public rage did not seem to abate. Soon the cops called for back-up and arrested a few trouble-makers. However, Anees Ahmed intervened and convinced the police officials that the citizens are irked because their age old homes have been demolished. Their action should not be taken seriously and should be let off. So the police officials released them.
Ahmed even called the Police Commissioner and Rajendra Mulak to intervene and stop the demolition drive.