Shutdown hits Delhi, autos add to woes (Third Lead)

May 31st, 2012 - 9:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party New Delhi, May 31 (IANS) The 12-hour shutdown against petrol price hike hit normal life in the national capital Thursday, with commuters suffering the most due to street protests and a crippled public transport.

During the day, leaders of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) and other Left parties as well as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) courted arrest, demanding a roll back of the hike.

A total of 813 people, including 15 leaders, were detained, Delhi Police spokesman Rajan Bhagat said.

They included BJP MPs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Ananth Kumar besides 13 city legislators. All of them were let off immediately.

The city remained peaceful but it proved a tough day for many.

With autorickshaws joining the protest, most people turned to buses and the dependable Delhi Metro.

“The Metro was jam packed,” textile engineer Sudisha Bhola told IANS.

At the Rajiv Chowk station, the busiest Metro inter-change, there was a near stampede situation at one point, a commuter said.

According to one estimate, nearly 55,000 autos and 15,000 taxis stayed off the roads.

This caused maximum woes for those reaching Delhi by rail and inter-state buses.

Traffic moved at snail’s pace in some places due to street protests.

Popular markets and commercial centres such as Chandni Chowk and Laxmi Nagar wore a deserted look as around 300 trader associations supported the shutdown.

“The common man won’t tolerate price hikes,” said Bharatiya Janata Party leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.

Left leaders Prakash Karat, Sitaram Yechury and D. Raja were detained at the Daryaganj police station.

Left activists raised slogans against the central government and blocked vehicles on a key road.

Delhi’s Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, however, said the ‘bandhi’ called by the opposition was a flop.

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