Agitated over demolition, residents set afire vehicles in Gaziabad

     Agitated over a drive to demolish unauthorised structures by the administrative authorities, residents in Uttar Pradesh's Ghazibad district turned violent and clashed with police on Saturday. The protesting mob torched many vehicles including a bus and two trucks and blocked the National Highway 24 and caused traffic snarls over 15 kilometres of stretch. Authorities said that the colony had been set up on government land by land mafia and the constructions were illegal. The situation is under control. "Situation is under control. Yesterday (on Friday) we started an anti-encroachment drive and many areas were demarked having illegal constructions. People living in those areas gathered and tried to block the road. We immediately made them to vacate the road. We have told them to present their point of view at the Collectorate office at 10 am tomorrow (Sunday) and bring relevant documents. The district official will then decide whether their construction is illegal or legal. Accordingly, we will take further actions," said AK Singh, Senior Superintendent Of Police (SSP) Noida. However, the agitated residents claimed that they had been residing in the area for the last 15 years and their property was registered. "When our homes were being registered where were these people? Government registers houses. We are not uneducated. Where were these people when there were just two houses in the area but now when an entire colony has been set up, they want to demolish it?" said Sunita Devi, one of the protestors. Majority of the residents in the area are said to be from the lower-middle income group.

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