New Delhi: The Delhi high court on Wednesday ordered immediate eviction of encroachers from Mehrauli Archaeological Park, asking DDA and ASI to ensure it is secured.
The court said the encroachers could very well take over nearby Qutub Minar unless the agencies take strict action. A bench of justices Badar Durrez Ahmed and Sanjeev Sachdeva directed Delhi Police to provide assistance to DDA and ASI in their drive to remove encroachers from the park and issued notice to several agencies, including Delhi Tourism and Transportation Development Corporation, state government, SDMC and Delhi Urban Art Commission, seeking their views by May 20. The court wants them to explain steps being taken to rid monuments of encroachers.
The court also made the SHO of the Mehrauli police station a party to the PIL filed by Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), an NGO involved in preserving heritage.
In the PIL, INTACH has sought that the archaeological park—which is spread over 100 acres and has about 80 monuments—be “preserved, protected and maintained “.
“The monuments in the park range from grand structures—like tombs of Quli Khan and Balban; mosque and tomb of Maulana Jamali; and Rajon Ki Baoli—to several minor monuments that together constitute a huge cultural asset and potential heritage recreation space for the city,” INTACH pointed out in its petition, saying that failure of the agencies to respond in time left it with no option but to approach the court.
“The park has been encroached at several places and is under constant threat of further encroachments,” it added and alleged that one ASI-notified monument—Tomb of Khan Shahid—has been “whitewashed and defaced”, which the NGO claimed was a precursor to encroachment.
“The picturesque qualities of the park are threatened by the multistorey constructions along the western edge…and its ambience is rendered unpleasant by the use of the park for sanitation by those living in Mehrauli… and within the several monuments in the park.” the petition added.
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