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Bulldozers run over illegal encroachment near Sri Krishna Janmbhoomi in Mathura, over 100 houses of Nayi Basti cleared from Railways land

"The Shahi Eidgah mosque stands as another encroachment, with about 15 ongoing petitions before the Allahabad High Court seeking its removal from the land where a temple once stood. Today, these encroachments alongside the railway track have been removed through due legal process. In the future, we may witness the removal of the Shahi Eidgah mosque as well," said Gopeshwar Chaturvedi of the Sri Krishna Janmbhoomi Seva Sansthan.

On Wednesday, Agra Railways authorities, in coordination with local police and administration, conducted a massive demolition operation to eliminate illegal encroachments in the backyard of Sri Krishna Janmbhoomi in Mathura. This is a month after the Railway administration issued a notice to the residents of the Nayi Basti area to vacate the government land.

The Railways stated that the land on which houses of Nayi Basti have been illegally constructed belongs to the railway’s board and that the land needs to be vacated now for the construction of a special rail line between Mathura and Vrindavan.

“These encroachments, primarily residential structures, were destroyed as part of an endeavor to convert the existing meter gauge railway track into a broad gauge track, allowing a connection between Mathura and Vrindavan,” stated the Railways Board.

While the administration has stated that the illegal encroachment removal was executed after a notice regarding the same was sent a month ago, some Nayi Basti residents claim that the measure is an attempt to cause ‘panic and fear’. The residents claim that they have purchased the residences and that they are being removed from their own lands.

One of the residents who own a home on the railway land talked to the media to confirm that the notice had been issued regarding the demolition drive a month ago. However, he said that legal proceedings against the notice were sought which is still pending in the court of law.

“In response to the notices issued by the railways in June, we initiated legal proceedings. A case remains pending in the Court of Civil Judge (Senior Division) Mathura, with a reply due from the railways by August 21, the next date for hearing. However, even before that, this demolition initiative has been undertaken, seemingly, to instill fear and panic,” the resident was quoted as saying by Hindustan Times.

Meanwhile, members of Sri Krishna Janmbhoomi Seva Sansthan have welcomed the demolition drive and said that the illegal encroachments along the railway track have been removed legally.

“The Shahi Eidgah mosque stands as another encroachment, with about 15 ongoing petitions before the Allahabad High Court seeking its removal from the land where a temple once stood. Today, these encroachments alongside the railway track have been removed through due legal process. In the future, we may witness the removal of the Shahi Eidgah mosque as well,” said Gopeshwar Chaturvedi of the Sri Krishna Janmbhoomi Seva Sansthan.

According to Chaturvedi further, the railway track was previously located within the Sri Krishna Janmbhoomi complex. When the railroad route was built in 1888 to carry massive red sandstone pieces for a temple in Vrindavan, compensation was paid to the family of Raja Patnimal, the previous landowner of the Sri Krishna Janmbhoomi site.

Bulldozers swarmed near Sri Krishna Janmbhoomi in Mathura on Wednesday morning. As the demolition effort began in this largely minority-populated region along the railway track linking Sri Krishna Janmbhoomi and Vrindavan, railway officials, local administration members, and security forces marched toward Nai Basti.

Prashasti Srivastava, PRO for the North Central Railways’ Agra Division, stated that advance notices had been issued to encroachers residing illegally alongside the railway route. The demolition work, which began on Wednesday, will be resumed in a few days.

Eviction notifications were issued to 135 unauthorized occupiers in total. Many of them requested time to relocate to other locations, and the government granted their requests. However, no valid reason was offered to stop the demolition. As a result, 60 structures were demolished on Wednesday. After a few days, the remaining unauthorized structures will be dismantled.

“Sufficient time was afforded to the encroachers, who even pursued legal action. The estate officer held hearings for them, yet the encroachers could not substantiate ownership claims over the occupied land. Thus, the demolition drive was eventually initiated on Wednesday,” the Railways’ PRO affirmed.

Meanwhile, municipal magistrate Saurabh Dubey, who was present at the scene of encroachments extending for half a kilometer alongside the train track, stated, “The operation on Wednesday, targeting encroachments on railway-owned land, adhered to the legal process mandated by law.” Police, Government Railway Police (GRP), and the Railway Protection Force were stationed to guarantee the orderly conduct of the demolition, which might resume in a few days. There has been no resistance, and those in illegal possession are actively collaborating in the removal of encroachments.”

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