A Supreme Court judgement today halted an anti-encroachment operation in Delhi's Jahangirpuri, which has been tense since last week's communal violence, but not before a bulldozer bulldozed structures near the mosque at the centre of Saturday's dispute.
Following a petition, the Supreme Court ordered a halt to the demolition of businesses and other structures in the violence-plagued neighbourhood and scheduled an urgent hearing for tomorrow.
The destruction, however, continued for nearly two hours after the court's decision. The North Delhi Municipal Corporation's Mayor, Raja Iqbal Singh, stated that they had not yet received the order and that they would continue to remove illegal structures until they did.
Lawyer Dushyant Dave filed a complaint with the Supreme Court as an excavator continued to demolish the mosque's gates and nearby stores amid escalating tensions in the region. The court judgement "must be communicated to officials immediately," according to Chief Justice NV Ramana.
Brinda Karat, a top CPM leader, arrived in the area around the same time with a physical copy of the directive. "We ask to Jahangirpuri residents to maintain peace," she added as the demolition stopped.
Nine bulldozers arrived in the neighbourhood this morning and began demolishing stores and other properties in the midst of a large police presence. The anti-encroachment operation was authorised when Delhi BJP president Adesh Gupta wrote to the mayor, requesting that he locate and dismantle unlawful structures built by "rioters."
Since Saturday's communal clashes, when a Hanuman Jayanti procession that did not have authorization walked a path alongside a mosque, police have been keeping a close eye on Jahangirpuri. During the incident, two groups threw stones at each other and bullets were fired, nine persons were hurt, including eight police officers.
So far, 25 people have been arrested in connection with the riots. Five of them have been charged under the National Security Act, which allows them to be held without charge for up to a year.