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HomeLatest NewsThousands in Distress as Demolition Drive Commences in Lucknow’s Akbar Nagar

Thousands in Distress as Demolition Drive Commences in Lucknow’s Akbar Nagar

11 Jun. 24: The Lucknow Development Authority (LDA) began the demolition of shops and homes in the more than 50-year-old Akbar Nagar locality on Monday, amidst heavy security deployment. The demolition drive, scheduled in two shifts, involved barricading the entire area and diverting traffic. Eight companies of the Uttar Pradesh Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) and the Rapid Action Force (RPF) were reportedly deployed to maintain order.

As LDA officials arrived with bulldozers, residents began gathering their belongings, with some strongly resisting the government’s actions. The demolition was sanctioned by a Supreme Court bench consisting of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta on May 10, upholding an Allahabad High Court ruling against “unauthorized construction” in Akbar Nagar, a predominantly Muslim locality. The Court stipulated that no one should be evicted without being provided with alternative housing by the LDA.

Civil rights activists and critics argue that the demolition, affecting over 10,000 residents and approximately 2,000 homes, is part of the Yogi government’s proposed “Riverfront Project.” For months, residents lived in fear as municipal authorities planned to demolish the settlement. Previous demolitions in small localities around Akbar Nagar heightened these fears.

On December 21, the first bulldozer entered Akbar Nagar, but the Allahabad High Court’s Lucknow bench ordered a stay, delaying the demolition without a final order to prevent it.

The Hindu reported that 1,679 people from Akbar Nagar who submitted applications would be accommodated at Hardoi Road, Lucknow, with LDA officials facilitating quick possession of buildings. Meanwhile, a viral video showed a 12-year-old girl, Aisha, appealing to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Samajwadi Party (SP) president Akhilesh Yadav to save their homes. “In the morning, we were asked to vacate the premises where we have lived since birth. My whole family is in trauma. I request Rahul-ji and Akhilesh Yadav-ji to intervene and save our houses,” Aisha pleaded.

The LDA claimed the settlement was illegal under section 27 (2) of the UP Urban Planning and Development Act, 1973. However, residents argue that they have occupied the premises since before 1973, making demolition proceedings under the Act unjust.

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