Free Press Journal

Help save Mehrauli Archaeological Park, police told


New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday asked Delhi Police to help the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) and the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) remove encroachment at the Mehrauli Archaeological Park here.

A division bench of Justice B.D. Ahmed and Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva also directed the DDA to submit a report on the extent of impact in the encroached areas in the Archaeological Park, spread over 100 acres and home to 80 monuments.

The bench said: “In the meantime, nothing is to be demolished. Everything has to be preserved, but encroachers are to be removed. There should not be any encroachment. That’s all.”

On the plea of senior advocate Gourab Banerji, appearing for the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), the court directed the DDA to conduct an exercise to demarcate the areas in and around the Archaeological Park falling under the ASI and Delhi Waqf Board.

The court’s direction came while hearing a PIL filed by NGO INTACH, which wants the park to be “preserved, protected and maintained”.

“The monuments of the park range from grand structures like Quli Khan’s tomb, Balban’s Tomb, Maulana Jamali’s mosque and tomb and Rajon ki baoli, to several minor monuments that together constitute a huge cultural asset and potential heritage recreation space for the city,” the plea said.

“The park has been encroached at several places and is under constant threat of further encroachment,” it said.

It alleged that one ASI notified monument – Tomb of Khan Shahid – had been “whitewashed and defaced”, which the NGO claimed was a precursor to encroachment.