| Children on Sunday stage protest against the proposed eviction drive at Bhagwat Nagar. Picture by Sachin |
Residents of Bhagwat Nagar have threatened to resort to Madhubani-like violence to protect their homes if the government goes ahead with the October 17 demolition deadline.
Until Sunday, around 4,000 residents of the Kankerbagh colony were hoping against hope that there could be some way out of the eviction drive. However, since the government did not set a new deadline for the demolition, their optimism seems to have been crushed already.
“Starting tomorrow (October 15) at 9am, the entire colony will be locked. All the entry and exit points of the area will be closed. Our people won’t let anyone from the administration or the police come inside,” Saroj Kant Tripathy, the president of Adarsh, Bhagwat, Jaiprakash Nagar Makaan Bachao Sangharsh Samiti, told The Telegraph on Sunday.
“We hoped that after the carnage in Madhubani, the government would take a soft stand towards Bhagwat Nagar. But according to the district administration’s directive, Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC) had requested for police force on October 17. Thus, we have planned to be on the vigil from October 15.”
Violence rocked Madhubani for two days since Friday after the death of two students. On Saturday, angry residents set ablaze five government offices, including three police stations.
The residents of Bhagwat Nagar have threatened a similar outrage if the government bulldozers proceed towards their colony. “Once the colony is completely locked from all sides, we would organise a meeting-cum-protest on October 16. All the residents of the colony will assemble at the protest point. Since the government and the Opposition have both washed their hands off the issue, we will take up the mantle to protect our homes,” Tripathy added.
“All schools in the area would remain closed on October 17. If the mood of the government is to destroy our homes, we will destroy the government too. We are not illegal immigrants that we should be evicted. We are living here for 40 years. Our forefathers built the houses and we are not going to leave this place,” Tripathy said.
When contacted on Sunday, a senior police officer said no order to defer the eviction process has been issued by the administration yet.
“We haven’t received anything from the district administration till Saturday evening. We would provide forces according to the requirement. We just follow orders from the administration and unless something fresh comes in we would depute the required forces,” the police officer said.
A senior officer of the district administration echoed the cop.
“The PMC had demanded for force on October 17. There has been no talk in connection with the change in date till now. I cannot comment on anything more than this,” the officer said.
The bone of contention is a 22.1 acre government land on which houses, offices and schools have been constructed illegally.
On September 26, the district officials tried to enter the area to demolish the houses but they faced stiff resistance from the residents. The protesters torched government vehicles.
Since then, the residents are keeping a watch on the government activities. They have even started night patrolling on bikes to keep the government machinery at bay.
Last week, the PMC had requested for force from the district administration on October 17 to demolish 131 illegal structures at Bhagwat Nagar.