At around 8.30am on 20 April, Rahima Begum, a street vendor in New Delhi, heard that the municipal authorities would be conducting an “anti-encroachment” demolition of makeshift homes and businesses in Jahangirpuri, where she lived and ran a roadside soft-drink shop with her family.
Residents in the crowded area in the northern part of the Indian capital were tense after the order was issued by the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC), run by prime minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The two-day drive would take place in a primarily Muslim neighbourhood.
Three days earlier, the area had been the site of community violence during a procession to mark the anniversary of the birth of the Hindu god Hanuman.
Join our commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies