Stampede for DDA forms, police cane-charge people

August 7th, 2008 - 5:45 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 7 (IANS) At least 10 people suffered minor injuries Thursday when police cane-charged to control a large crowd at the Delhi Development Authority’s (DDA) northwest Delhi office jostling to purchase application forms for a new housing scheme. Around 500 people, mainly from the low-income group, reached the DDA office in Azadpur area four hours before its opening time of 10 a.m.

Soon there were long queues at the two counters, separate for men and women, where the forms were being sold. As more and more people gathered to buy forms for their dream home, chaos broke out and people jostled with each other to reach the sales counter.

Rumours that not enough forms were available led people to break queues and everyone rushed towards the counters.

The police and private security guards resorted to cane charge to control the crowd.

At least 10 people suffered minor injuries in the drama that lasted nearly an hour.

“I had only come to buy a form. But here I am being cane-charged unnecessarily,” said a woman, who was hit on her head and was bleeding.

Prospective applicant Ramesh Babu said: “We were in lines when the stampede occurred and soon 4,000-5,000 people started running here and there. I saw policemen were beating people with sticks.

“Authorities knew that a large number of people would turn up to buy these forms, still they did not make adequate arrangements. There should have been more counters here,” he said.

Senior police and DDA officials refused to comment on the situation.

The sale of application forms for the allotment of low-cost houses under the Rajiv Ratan Awas Yojana started Aug 5. The scheme aims to make Delhi a slum-free capital city.

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