Three persons were killed, one of them in police firing, and over 100 injured as the traders' bandh against the MCD's controversial sealing drive turned violent in many parts of Delhi on Wednesday.
The worst-hit region was Seelampur in north-east Delhi where a seven-year-old boy, a teenager returning from school and a man were killed and about 50 policemen, including the area Deputy Commissioner of Police Devesh Shrivastava, were injured.
The area resembled a battlezone with irate protestors clashing with police and indulging in heavy stone-pelting throughout the day and securitymen resorting to firing, bursting teargas shells and baton charging to disperse them.
Police said the man was killed in firing by them, but it was not immediately confirmed whether the boy and the teenager were victims of police firing or bandh violence. The boy has been identified as Ashraf.
The bodies of the three have been kept at Guru Tegh Bahadur hospital. "They were brought dead," a source in the
hospital told PTI.
Rapid Action Force was deployed in several areas to bring the situation under control.
Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police (north-east) Rajeev Ranjan said not less than 50 policemen were injured in the stone-pelting. He said the mob was armed with country made pistols, bricks and rods.
"This violence is not related to the bandh. The bandh was peaceful. The traders were winding up their protest by 11:30 am. I don't know how the violent incidents happened. It seems some anti-social elements have taken advantage and created the flare-up," he told reporters.
The protestors also destroyed railings on the divider and traffic lights along the 5 km stretch from Seemapuri to Maujpur.
A cameraman of a local news channel was also injured when police manhandled him while shooting visuals of police action.
An uneasy clam prevailed in the area as roads were deserted and shops and offices were shut.
Police were carrying out mobile patrols to clear the area of protestors.
Most of the injuries were reported from Seelampur and neighbouring localities. The protestors had made a retreat to adjoining Jaffarabad after being pushed by police who had continued to lob teargas shells.
Other areas which witnessed incidents of stone-pelting, included Yusuf Sarai Hauz Khaz, Khajoori Khaas, New Ashok Nagar, Shakkarpur, Madhuban Chowk, Mayur Vihar, Lakshmi Nagar, Ashram, Mayapuri, Dabri and Dwarka.
Several DTC buses, private vehicles and Metro trains were damaged in stone-pelting.
Metro services were also affected in north-east Delhi after irate protestors hurled stones at a train in Shahdara.
As a precautionary measure, the Metro services were short-terminated at Shashtri Park station, avoiding the areas of Seelampur, Welcome and Shahdara, a DMRC official said.
"Stones were hurled at a Metro train in Shahdara, damaging its windowpanes," he said.
There was chaos at the Shastri Park station as passengers were asked to get off the train and get a refund of their tickets.
The Confederation of All India Traders, which had given the bandh call, claimed that wholesale markets in Delhi including Chandni Chowk, Kamla Nagar, Karol Bagh, Sadar Bazar, South Extension, Greater Kailash, Green Park, Shahdara, Rohini and other places were closed.
However, posh markets like Connaught Place and Khan Market were open with most of the shopkeepers not joining the bandh.
"Though we have sympathies with them (protesting traders), we don't want to be part of anything which is illegal," said Sanjiv Mehra, president of Khan Market Traders' Association.
Traffic was blocked in several areas like Vikas Marg near Preet Vihar, Rohini, Jail Road, Madhuban Chowk, Palam-Dabri road, Ashram, Chirag Delhi and South Extension.
"The trade bandh has caused a business loss to about Rs 200 crore and a revenue loss to about Rs 15 crore for Delhi Goverment today," said CAIT general secretary Praveen Khandelwal.