Gujjars protest leaves Delhi residents fuming

May 29th, 2008 - 8:58 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, May 29 (IANS) People in Delhi faced a tough time in commuting from one place to another Thursday as hundreds of agitating Gujjars took to the streets and blocked all roads and highways entering the national capital. The Gujjars, fighting for Schedule Tribe status, blocked the major arteries - Mathura Road, National Highway 8, M.G. Road, D.N.D. flyway, Noida Link Road, National Highway 24, Loni Road, Wazirabad Road, GT Road and also parts of the Ring Road.

They blocked the roads for at least four hours and burnt tyres and effigies. At some places like Aya Nagar and Mehrauli in south Delhi, they threw stones at police personnel and clashed with them. Police had to resort to lobbing tear gas shells to disperse the mobs.

Over 120 people were detained from several parts in the national capital. Traffic movement could be restored only in the afternoon.

“It’s a virtual house arrest. I could not move out of the home fearing for life. Why do we allow such people to create ruckus in the city?” complained Manish Sharma, a west Delhi based chartered account.

“Because of unrest I could not meet many of my clients,” he added.

Rakesh Verma, an employee of a software firm in south Delhi, said: “Our employer had already advised us not to come to office on Thursday. He did not want us to risk our lives in case the protest turned violent.”

Sarita Gulati, a student in a business administration college in Gurgaon, had to wait for nearly two hours in her car in Mehrauli of south Delhi on her way to the capital’s satellite township.

“I got scared when I saw a mob pelting stones at the police personnel, who were trying to remove them from the road. The mob completely jammed the road leaving no space to move my car on either side. I had to request a policeman for help and he took me to a safe place,” Gulati said.

The Gujjar community has been holding a second round of protests in Rajasthan since Friday. At least 37 people were killed, mostly in police firing, in the weekend as police used force to control mobs.

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