After bulldozers rolled into the area in Jahangirpuri following violent clashes, Communist Party of India (Marxist) Politburo member Brinda Karat on Wednesday called the BJP-ruled civic body's demolition drive unconstitutional.
Karat was seen blocking a bulldozer at Delhi's Jahangirpuri and waving the copy of a Supreme Court order this afternoon, in dramatic visuals from a tense two-hour standoff during which the civic body refused to stop its "anti-encroachment drive" despite the court's order.
After the demolition drive was halted following the Supreme Court order, the CPI(M) leader urged the people to maintain peace and harmony in the area.
"Demolition drive has stopped. I appeal to the people of Jahangirpur to maintain peace and harmony and wait for Supreme Court's next order. Demolition was against the Constitution," Karat said who arrived at the spot this afternoon and urged authorities to stop the anti-encroachment drive.
Here's all you need to know about the CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat:
Brinda Karat was elected to the Rajya Sabha as a Communist Party of India (Marxist) member on 11 April 2005 for West Bengal. She became the first woman member of the CPI(M) Politburo. She has also been the general secretary of the All India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA) from 1993 to 2004, and thereafter its vice-president.
She is married to Prakash Karat in 7 November 1975, a Keralite by origin and a prominent CPI(M) leader. Her sister Radhika Roy is married to Prannoy Roy, founder and CEO of NDTV. In 2005, she participated in Amu, a film made by her niece, Shonali Bose, on the Anti-Sikh riots in 1984. She is an aunt of the historian Vijay Prashad.
A look at Brinda's political career:
Brinda, in 1967, after graduation from Miranda House left for London, where she worked with Air India at Bond Street for four years. While working for Air India, she campaigned against the mandatory wearing of skirts in the airlines rather than the saree. The Air India headquarters finally agreed with her and ever since then women working for the airline in London can exercise a choice of whether to wear a saree or a skirt as their uniform.
She started her political work as a student activist since under the guidance of the Party she enrolled as a student in Calcutta University. Initially she worked with students in the college campus and later during the Bangladesh war at refugee camps in the State.
She grew to be active with worker's movements and the Indian women's movements. She gained prominence in the campaign for reform of rape laws in the 1980s.
Karat is a prominent campaigner for gender issues and has fought within the party for adequate representation for women in its leadership.
On 11 April 2005, she was elected to the Indian Parliament, Rajya Sabha as a CPI(M) member for West Bengal. In 2005, she was also elected to the Politburo of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), the highest decision-making body of the party and Brinda Karat is its first woman member.