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Can we still save Majnu-Ka-Tilla?
Phayul[Friday, September 08, 2006 13:37]
By Tenzin Dickyi

New Delhi, September-8 - 30th April 2006-the deadline given by the Delhi High Court to demolish all encroachments within 300 metres from the bank of River Yamuna shook the whole of Tibetans residing in Majnu Ka Tilla, now known as New Arunanagar colony. The place which is being associated as Little Tibet has been home to many Tibetans since early 60’s. However, the order to knock down the place came too shockingly.

A report dated 18th April in Hindustan Times indicated the postponement of the deadline as the Police Commissioner of Delhi, KK Paul asked for some more time to arrange security by that date. Paul also had written a letter to Delhi Development Authority (DDA) vice chairman, Dinesh Rai asking him to postpone the drive.

The Tibetan government-in-exile has stepped in to prevent the eviction of the settlers and the residents are expecting loads from them. Mrs.Gyari Dolma, vice chairperson of the exile Tibetan parliament, Assembly of Tibetan People’s Deputies (ATPD) along with many other senior Tibetan officials have presented themselves infront of the Delhi High court couple of times to see the possibilities of safeguading the demolition. The process is still on the move though.

On 6th July, the 71st birthday celebration of H.H. the Dalai Lama at Majnu-Ka-Tilla, the chief guest for the occasion Ms. Shiela Dixit, chief minister of Delhi restated her government’s decision to support the Tibetan refugees and asserted that she will not let the demolition happen. Her reassuring words brought great relief to the Tibetans residing there.

However, on September 4, Delhi Development Authority (DDA) brought down two structures in Majnu-ka- Tilla as the order came directly from the Delhi High Court which earlier had issued an order that no new constructions will be carried out in the locality.
The attempt to stop the demolition by the Tibetan assemby's Vice Chairperson Mrs. Gyari Dolma went fruitless. Though efforts are still in full swing to safe the Tibetan residents out from the problem of demolition threat.

However, a report today in Times of India made it clear about the removal of Majnu-Ka-Tilla. The report says that it was unauthorised construction. Acting Chief Justice Vijender Jain and Justice Kailash Gambhir granted six weeks time to the Delhi government and ministry of external affairs (MEA) to ensure an allotment for the residents as Tibetans come under the special category, reported Times of India.

The report also declared strict directions to be given to DDA and other civic agencies to ensure that no authorised religious structures should be demolished in the process.

“The CM’s stand on supporting the prevention of demolition of Majnu-Ka-Tilla is still firm though the reports in Times of India stated rigidly about the eviction of the place. Within the six weeks time, we are looking forward to prepare the needed report from the Chief secretary and Minister of External Affairs (MAE) and will be appealing again in the High Court”, Pradhan Phuntsok told phayul.

For now the order came as a High Court verdict and the upcoming days might be difficult and hard for the residents of Majnu-Ka-Tilla even though they will be relocated but hopes and prayers still remains to save the settlement.
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