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Mosque demolished by Delhi administration over anti-encroachment drive

New Delhi: Protests erupted in northwest Delhi’s Mangolpuri area, where portions of a mosque were demolished due to alleged encroachment, amid heavy deployment of police and paramilitary forces, officials said on Tuesday.

The demolition drive, however, had to be halted after the situation escalated as a large mob gathered, forming a human chain to obstruct the entry of JCBs into the area, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), which carried out the drive, said in a statement.

Additionally, the presence of women protesters, who sat on the unauthorised structure, complicated the law and order situation in the area, it added.

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The demolition drive was undertaken by the civic body at a municipal park in Y Block of Mangolpuri against an illegally extended boundary wall of the mosque, the officials said.

The MCD removed 20 metres of the unauthorised structure but the situation escalated after a large mob and women protesters gathered at the site objecting to the demolition, the statement said.

“Despite the diligent efforts, the authorities were unable to safely disperse the crowd. In light of these developments, the police advised the MCD to temporarily halt the encroachment removal operation to maintain peace and order. A status report regarding this issue has been filed with the Delhi High Court,” it said.

“The initiative was part of our (MCD’s) ongoing efforts to address unauthorised religious encroachments and uphold the integrity of public spaces,” the civic body said.

According to police officials, there were some allegations regarding stone pelting at a journalist during the demolition drive but no official complaint has been filed regarding the matter so far.

“We are waiting. If he (journalist) gives any complaint, we will further proceed with the matter,” a senior police officer told PTI.

The local police and five companies of paramilitary personnel reached Mangolpuri’s Y block in the morning to demolish illegal encroachment at the mosque.

As the demolition drive started at 6 am, locals gathered at the spot and started protesting, an officer said

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