Delhi: Notice sent to 1000 families in Tughlaqabad Fort over eviction due to encroachment

About 20 years ago, Shameem Akhtar, 65, moved from Varanasi to New Delhi in search of work. Since then he has been living in the Bengali Colony in Tughlaqabad, southwest Delhi.

Having lived on rent all her life, Akhtar took out a loan and used her savings to purchase land in the colonial town of Churiya Mohalla in 2020. Below the Tuglakabad fortified area, a protected monument.

On January 11, ASI posted a notice on his home directing him to vacate the area within a 15-day period ending Thursday.

“I saved some money, took out a loan, and bought a small plot of land for a few lakhs three years ago. The seller failed to inform us that the land was disputed or owned by the government. About eight months ago, with great difficulty, we were able to build a house and now they want us to vacate it,” said Akhtar.

Akhtar’s is one of about 1,000 homes (some scammers, some squatters) in the neighborhood that ASI has ordered to evict.

When HT visited Chhuriya Mohalla on Thursday, residents said that the Tughlaqabad fort is under the protection of the ASI and that under the provisions of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act of 1958 and a court ruling, the sale or purchase of parts of land in the area is prohibited. there is. Last November, the Delhi High Court granted ASI six weeks as “final indulgence” to clear encroachments in and around the monument.

In February 2016, the Supreme Court declared the whole of Tuglakabad Fort protected and instructed ASI not to allow it to seize or encroach on the land there. However, residents claim that the ASI notice was only recently posted. “This committee was not here until the MCD election (December 7th). It appeared only recently. Why would any sane person pay money to buy government land? We have not received any documentation explaining the purchase of the land. Previously, we only received payment receipts and journal entries,” said Akhtar.

Archaeologist Praveen Singh of ASI Delhi Circle said the area of ​​2,661 bighas that are part of the monument was handed over to ASI by the Delhi Development Authority for maintenance decades ago. Singh said the land had been encroached on over the years and a legal battle ensued after a public interest action (PIL) was filed. ASI posted the notice as directed by the court, he said.

Rupa Biswas, who moved to the area from Kolkata a few years ago, said the government issued voter ID cards and Aadhaar cards to Churiya Mohalla’s address, giving people a false sense of security. “There are over 20,000 households. More than 1,000 notifications have been issued. Most of us have an Aadhaar card, voter ID and ration card issued to the address here. Why did the government make this document?” she asked.

Residents are waiting for the next action, such as starting demolition if they refuse to evict.

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