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Gujjars lay siege of entry points to Delhi
June 04, 2007 10:14 IST
Last Updated: June 04, 2007 13:28 IST
Agitating Gujjars on Monday laid siege of all the entry points to the capital, blocked roads and resorted to violence in some parts in their bid to enforce a day-long call for shutdown to demand Scheduled Tribe status in Rajasthan.
Officegoers and commuters had a tough time reaching their destinations as Gujjars enforced the shutdown.
However, shops and business establishments were open across the capital, barring Gujjar-dominated areas, including Chilla and Dallupura villages in east Delhi and some south Delhi localities bordering Faridabad in Haryana.
Agitating Gujjar groups blocked key roads linking the capital to Panipat, Faridabad, Gurgaon, Noida and Ghaziabad leading traffic jams at all the state entry points. The Mehrauli-Gurgaon Road was the worst affected as stick-wielding protestors attacked passenger buses and burnt tires, blocking the road.
There were reports of police firing in the air to disperse the protestors.
Two Delhi Transport Corporation buses were torched in Aya Nagar area in Mehrauli. Buses were also damaged in Khajoori Khaz in northeast and at Patparganj in east Delhi.
In north Delhi, angry protestors set on fire a passenger bus, pelted stones and blocked roads at the Wazirabad crossing leading to huge traffic snarls.
Security has been beefed up at roads along the Delhi border with neighbouring states and capital-bound vehicles were being diverted to alternate routes.
Trucks carrying vegetables and other essential supplies were unable to reach the Ghazipur Wholesale market abutting the Uttar Pradesh border in Ghaziabad, where policemen were deployed in large numbers to maintain law and order.
About 500 Gujjar prostestors gathered at the Ghazipur Chowk blocking the National Highway 24 connecting the capital with Ghaziabad and Lucknow.
The Badarpur area of south Delhi, which along the border with Haryana in Gujjar-dominated Faridabad witnessed incidents of stone-pelting at passenger buses and the police.
National Highway-24 that links the capital to Ghaziabad and Lucknow was closed for traffic and a posse of policemen kept vigil at the Ghazipur Chowk.
On the Noida Link Road near Mayur Vihar, about 100 protestors threw burning bicycles on the road leading to long traffic snarls. The road was opened for traffic around 1100 hours.
Similar incidents were reported from Khajuri chowk along the Uttar Pradesh border in north-east Delhi, Kalindi Kunj and Jaunpur area in south Delhi.
An Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation bus was set ablaze by agitating Gujjars at Kasna in Greater Noida.
Police fired in the air to disperse the protestors in the area.
At Noida, the main Sector 14 A border road was blocked for over three hours by the Gujjars. The protestors blocked rail traffic at Dadri area.
Several trains were held up at Dadri, Ajaibpur and Dankore railway stations.
Gujjar leaders held a series of meetings, including a 'Maha Panchayat' (major congregation), in Delhi on Sunday and decided to call for a shutdown in the national capital on Monday.
Congress parliamentarian and Gujjar leader Avtar Singh Bhadana, after a meeting with some community leaders, said entry points to Delhi will be blocked as part of the bandh to demand dismissal of the Vasundhara Raje government in Rajasthan and imposition of Central rule in the state.
The Delhi Police said it had made elaborate arrangements. Virtually the entire police force of over 50,000, along with about 2000 central paramilitary personnel, was on the streets to maintain law and order.