Digha Land Dispute: High Court stays demolition drive in Nepali Colony

Nepali Nagar

Patna: The Patna High Court on Monday stayed the ongoing demolition of houses, built in Nepali Colony on Ashiana-Digha road under Rajiv Nagar Police Station area, with immediate effect. It also directed the State Government file replies with respect to the bunch of writ petitions, filed before it against the drive to remove alleged encroachments from the colony settled on the disputed 1024 acre land in Digha.

The Government has been told the file the reply before July 6, when the case will come up for the hearing.

The Patna district administration on Sunday launched the drive raze around 90 houses on 40 acre land, purportedly acquired by the Bihar State Housing Board (BSHB) in 1974 for building a housing colony, which led to violent clash between the local residents and the police on Sunday.

Five police personnel, including the City SP, Patna, were injured, while about two dozen residents were arrested for disrupting the demolition drive being conducted with the help of scores of bulldozers. The district administration had identified 90 houses for razing them to the ground and give possession of the plots to the BHSB.

Also Read: BSHB’s plan to build housing colony in Digha triggers violent protests

In his order, Justice Sandeep Kumar directed the district authorities to immediately call off the demolition and abstain from taking coercive action against those protesting in a peaceful and democratic manner. The government

Prompted by forceful eviction of the residents and manhandling of women and children by the police, three persons including Gajendra Kumar Singh, had filed separate writ petitions in the Patna High Court and sought immediate suspension of the demolition drive. Singh’s lawyer Shashi Bhushan Kumar claimed that the acquisition of land was unjustified and went against the spirit of the related laws.

Citing an order of the Patna High Court in 1995, Kumar claimed that the court had clearly said that it wouldn’t order demolishing 5000 houses that had come on the disputed Digha land, supposed to be acquired by the BSHB. “Moreover, the purpose of acquisition land by BSHB has already been defeated. The BSHB had earmarked the land for building the housing colony and not for allotting to other agencies to build their own offices or residential quarters,” contended the lawyer.

The district authorities had also lodged an FIR against Jan Adhikar Party (JAP) chief Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav and his party leaders for opposition the demolition drive. BJP legislator from Digha had returned to Patna, cutting short his trip to the South India, to pursue the cases of local residents and land owners.

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