New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: An anti-encroachment drive was launched by the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) on Tuesday in Delhi's New Friends Colony, a day after the civic body failed to carry out a demolition drive in Shaheen Bagh following protests by locals and politicians.

SDMC's Central Zone Chairman Rajpal Singh said the demolition drive was launched with help from the Delhi Police. He said the SDMC aims to remove illegally set up kiosks, temporary structures, shanties and shops through the anti-encroachment drive.

"People are insisting that we're carrying the (demolition) drive to discriminate against religious identities... We're doing this for their welfare. School buses, ambulances, fire tendors should be able to cross. Public roads should be clear," Singh told news agency ANI.

"There are some barricades that have been put on the road between Gurudwara to Ashoka Park. This road will be cleared today," he added.

In addition to New Friends Colony, a similar drive was launched in Mangolpuri on Tuesday by the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC). The ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) once against criticised the demolition with its MLA Mukesh Ahlawat reaching Mangolpuri to stop the drive.

However, the Delhi Police said Ahlawat was detained by officials "to prevent the situation from getting jeopardised".

"When people have vacated the area, why are they (North MCD) creating inconvenience to them by using Bulldozers by surrounding them. We're against it and it should be stopped. They need to prove first that there's encroachment," Ahlawat was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

On Monday, the Delhi Police had registered a case against another AAP MLA - Amanatullah Khan - for allegedly "obstructing" the demolition drive in Shaheen Bagh, an exercise that was put on hold after protests from the locals.

Later, a plea was also filed by the Communist Party of India (Marxist) in the Supreme Court against the drive. However, the apex court refused to entertain the plea, saying it cannot interfere in the matter at the instance of a political party.

"Why is the CPI(M) filing a petition? What is the fundamental right that is being violated? Not at the behest of political parties. This is not the platform. You go to the high court," the court said, as reported by news agency PTI.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma