Delhi heaves a sigh of relief after day-long Gujjar protests

May 29th, 2008 - 8:19 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, May 29 (ANI): Citizens of Delhi heaved a sigh of relief this evening after day-long Gujjar protests concluded in different parts of the capital.

Sources said over 35,000 police personnel, including Central paramilitary forces, were deployed in Delhi and surrounding areas and particularly in Gujjar strongholds to prevent violence and unrest.

The Union Home Ministry put the National Capital Region (NCR) on high alert two days ago following the agitation call and issued advisories to Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh Governments, asking them to take all measures for maintaining peace.

Home Secretary Madhukar Gupta, who is personally monitoring the situation, is in touch with the Directors General of Police of Uttar Pradesh and Haryana, and the Police Commissioner of Delhi.

Gupta asked the three police chiefs maintain vigil in the most vulnerable areas.

Police are keeping a strict vigil on Delhis borders with the above-mentioned states, especially at three points, Aya Nagar, Bopari and one in north-east district.

Security personnel were deployed at Mehrauli, Ghazipur, Patparganj, Badarpur, Khanpur, Aya Nagar, Chilla village and Rampur, in anticipation of a strong showing by the Gujjar community.

A traffic policeman on duty said there were more vehicles on the roads this morning well before rush hour, as people heading for their jobs, wanted to avoid the road blockages.

“I did not want to take a risk. You don’t know how things unfold. I have an important meeting at my office which I could not afford to miss. So I left early,” Shanker Roy, who works in a financial firm in Delhi’s Connaught Place, said.

In the afternoon, the Gujjars had blocked road and rail traffic in the Capital and in the adjoining areas as part of their ‘NCR Rasta Roko’ agitation.

Earlier, all highways leading into the Capital were blocked.

At Aya Nagar, near the Delhi-Gurgaon Mehrauli border, police resorted to a firing of tear gas shells on protesters.

There were also reports of stone pelting and of effigies burning. At some places agitators broke the windshields of cars and buses.

The NCR agitation was called by the All India Gujjar Mahasabha, in support of the community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe status in Rajasthan where 39 people were killed last week in clashes between the police and protesters.

A protest march was held at Mayur Vihar in East Delhi this morning. Protestors blocked traffic on the Mehrauli- Gurgaon Road, the Noida Express Highway and NH-24, besides stopping a passenger train in the Loni area of Ghaziabad.

Anticipating blockades, the Railways cancelled ten trains, including the Nizamuddin-Kochi, the Maharashtra Sampark Kranti, the Nizamuddin-Udaipur and the Dehradun-Bandra Express trains. (ANI)

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