Youth Congress activists protesting outside the detained Union Minister’s residence

The BJP is pushing the country towards hatred and violence. “The ruling party is creating an atmosphere of hatred in the country. The BJP’s conspiracy to trample on truth, non-violence and justice will not succeed,” he said.

About 25 to 30 activists were arrested and taken to Mandir Marg police station, a senior police officer said. “The BJP is using bulldozers to break the peace and harmony in the country. “We will continue to raise our voices over such incidents, including in Jahangirpuri, where homes and shops of the poor have been illegally demolished,” Rao said.

Bulldozers had razed several concrete and temporary structures near a mosque in Jahangirpuri on Wednesday as part of an anti-encroachment campaign by the BJP-led North Delhi Municipal Corporation, days after the northern district West Delhi has been rocked by communal violence. The Supreme Court had to intervene twice to stop the conduct after hearing a petition filed by Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind against the demolition. The area witnessed rock-throwing, shooting and arson last Saturday with groups from two communities clashing in a Hanuman Jayanti procession.

The Supreme Court, meanwhile, extended the status quo until further orders on the demolition issue. A bench of Judges L Nageswara Rao and BR Gavai issued a notice to the Center and others on the plea filed by the Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind which claimed that the buildings of the accused Muslim rioters were razed. “The status quo is to be maintained until further notice… Listing after two weeks and pleadings to be completed by then,” the court said. The Supreme Court also said it would seriously consider Wednesday’s demolition, which was carried out even after its orders, despite the mayor of NDMC being notified.

The action had come against the backdrop of demolition campaigns by the BJP governments in the districts of Khargone in Madhya Pradesh and Anand in Gujarat, where bulldozers were used to tear down overgrown properties belonging to suspected rioters. Jahangirpuri resident and trader Malika Bibi said she had been running a fruit and vegetable shop for 25 years, which was razed without notice from the authorities.

(With contributions from the agency)

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