In the shadow of demolition, Akbar Nagar residents stand firm amidst uncertainty - Hindustan Times
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In the shadow of demolition, Akbar Nagar residents stand firm amidst uncertainty

By, Lucknow
Feb 23, 2024 05:04 AM IST

Life goes on in Akbar Nagar. On the surface everything seems to be normal, but anxiety is giving sleepless nights to locals

As you enter Akbar Nagar from a narrow stretch at Ayodhya road, tension and anxiety is clearly palpable among its residents. As the fate of 1800 houses in this two- decade old colony hangs in balance after demolition order of the Lucknow Development Authority (LDA), all hope now rests on the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad high court.

Almost 1400 residents of Akbar Nagar in Lucknow have moved the high court challenging the LDA’s demolition order. (HT photo)
Almost 1400 residents of Akbar Nagar in Lucknow have moved the high court challenging the LDA’s demolition order. (HT photo)

HT was at ground zero on Thursday to assess the situation. Huddled in groups are mostly women who are discussing their fate and waiting for the latest news from the ongoing hearing in the high court. Almost 1400 residents of Akbar Nagar have moved the high court challenging the LDA’s demolition order.

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“I will burn myself but will not leave Akbar Nagar,” says Rabia, who is willing to risk her life instead of leaving Akbar Nagar. “For the past three generations, we have been living here. No one ever raised any objection,” adds Rabia who was seething over demolition orders of the development authority.

“For so many years everything went on smoothly and everything was normal. Then how come all of a sudden entire Akbar Nagar becomes illegal,” Rabia asks. As the conversation with Rabia was going on, a young girl started capturing the scene with her cellphone.

When asked about the reason for her action, the teenager, who refused to share her name, said: “We have been asked to capture video of each and every newcomer who arrives in Akbar Nagar. Justifying the teenager’s action, another local Mohammad Kafil says: “We have been cheated. Officials (LDA ) took documents from us by presenting misleading facts.”

“They (officials) told us that after estimating population here (Akbar Nagar) civic amenities will be increased and made better,” he claimed. “By deceiving us, they collected our Aadhaar cards and other documents,” Kafil said. As you move ahead into the narrow lane another group of women could be seen discussing Akbar Nagar’s fate.

Here some women offer a solution to the problem and come up with a suggestion for the authorities concerned. “We want to live here. Register our houses. Government can fix monthly instalments. We will pay whatever we can with our resources,” says Saida Begum with a request to convey her message to the authorities concerned.

Others standing in the group agree in unison with Saida Begum. “Our children are studying. How will they be able to continue their education if we are displaced from Akbar Nagar,” said Saida Begum.

Some more locals came forward thinking that we were from some organisation or NGO trying to help them. “Please note my name also”, says Ali Hasan when he spots us. “I have daughters of marriageable age. How will I be able to fulfil my responsibilities if I am displaced,” says Hasan.

As you move further down the narrow lane, new saffron flags that came into circulation before the consecration ceremony of Ram Lalla in Ayodhya could be spotted atop some houses. Spotting our gaze on saffron flags, Hasan adds: “There are two madrasas, four mosques and 12 temples here in Akbar Nagar.”

Life goes on in Akbar Nagar. On the surface everything seems to be normal, but anxiety is giving sleepless nights to locals here.

HC extends stay on demolition till Feb 23

The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad high court on Thursday extended stay on LDA’s demolition order in Akbar Nagar till Friday. A division bench of Justice Vivek Chaudhary and Justice Om Prakash Shukla passed the order.

Hearing of the case will continue on Friday, ordered the court. Earlier, the high court had made it clear that the stay order will be only for those who have approached the court for relief.

Residents of Akbar Nagar approached the high court in December last seeking stay on the development authority’s demolition order. The high court has categorised residents of Akbar Nagar in two categories namely tax payers and BPL cardholders.

On Friday, hearing related with tax payers of Akbar Nagar will continue and on February 26 hearing related with the BPL cardholders will take place.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Pawan Dixit has been a journalist for over a decade. He has extensively covered eastern UP for around five years, covered 2012 UP assembly polls, 2014 Lok Sabha polls while being stationed in Varanasi. Now, in Lucknow, he covers outstation political assignments, reports special cases from district court, high court and state information commission

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