Police pelted with stones during demolition drive in Lucknow

Lucknow, March 11 (IANS) Agitated residents pelted stones at employees of the Lucknow Development Authority (LDA) and police personnel when a team of officials started pulling down three commercial buildings as part of a demolition drive in the state capital’s Akbar Nagar area on Sunday evening.

Two government vehicles were damaged in the stone-pelting, “mild force” was used to bring the situation under control, police said.

The situation escalated when rumours spread that some persons were killed after being trapped under the debris during the demolition of one of the buildings.

A large number of people gathered there and started pelting stones at the LDA team and police. Additional police teams were sent to pacify the protesters. However, no injuries were reported in the stand-off.

A government spokesman said, “There was a rumour that the Authority would be demolishing residential houses, prompting the people to protest.”

On March 6, the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court had stayed the demolition drive in Akbar Nagar and directed the state government to ensure that all the people being rehabilitated from there (slums) and applying for EWS houses be provided accommodations and the entire process of shifting be completed by March 31.

The eviction drive is part of the administration’s plans to beautify and develop Akbar Nagar which is located on the banks of the Kukrail nullah. The demolition order was passed by the Authority citing illegal constructions on the Kukrail’s riverbed and banks.

Indramani Tripathi, Vice-Chairperson of the Lucknow Development Authority, clarified that the plan was to demolish three commercial establishments, as the petitions of their owners against demolition were dismissed by the high court.

“When the third commercial building was being demolished, false rumours circulated, prompting the residents to protest. The situation was resolved only after convincing them that there was no plan to demolish any residential buildings,” said Tripathi.




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