NEW DELHI: Mehrauli remained tense on Saturday with people agitating as Delhi Development Authority continued its demolition exercise, which had begun on Friday. While 10 apartment complexes had acquired a court stay order against any demolition, DDA said that the drive was necessary since the land on which the houses were built was government land and had ASI-protected monuments sited on it.While the court order was respected, DDA demolished houses and shanties that did not have the court’s protection on Saturday. After the Orchid Apartment walls were brought down, several shanties were also razed.Hori Lal, resident of Orchid, said, “My flat was built in 2019 and we purchased it in 2022. Since the registration was done by Delhi government, we thought everything was above board. Now we find ourselves on the road. My three children and two daughters-in-law don’t have a roof above their heads.” Residents had a common complaint that no illegality was pointed out to them when the buildings were being built over the past six-seven years under the very nose of the administration. “All government agencies are fully aware. Our houses were registered by Delhi government,” said an irked Raju Khertla, whose apartment was torn down. Khertla, who irons clothes for a living, said, “I sold a house in Sangam Vihar to purchase this flat for Rs 15 lakh. My daughter’s marriage is on February 23 and look at my state.”Jyoti Dangwal, who lived in a nearby society, similarly asked, “If it was illegal, why wasn’t the construction stopped? If work had been halted, people wouldn’t have purchased the flats at that time.” Amit Chaudhary, resident of Pearl Residency, which has got a court stay order, added, “Because registry work wasn’t difficult, people were prompted to buy the flats.”On Saturday, people parked their cars across the road to deny passage to the bulldozer. DDA said, “All stakeholders, including Delhi government, have been on board in the run up to this long pending, court-mandated demolition. A demarcation exercise to identify the extent of unauthorised and illegal encroachment/construction, had been carried out in December 2021 as per the direction of Delhi High Court by the revenue department in the presence of DDA and Waqf Board representatives.”DDA said that it had reclaimed 1,200 square metres of government land. A notice dated December 12 had directed the encroachers to remove all the unauthorised construction from the land in question within 10 days. On many occasions, Delhi has directed the government authorities to secure, protect and preserve land falling under the Mehrauli Archaeological Park from encroachments.