Haryana violence: VHP, Bajrang Dal protest across Delhi
Members of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal carried out protests at nearly 23 locations in the Capital on Wednesday in response to the violence in Haryana, prompting the Delhi Police to sound an alert across the city. Some of these protests were held in north-east Delhi neighbourhoods that witnessed communal clashes in February 2020.
Police said the protests, which began around 9am, lasted until late evening. While no untoward incidents were reported from any site, the demonstrations disrupted vehicular movement and caused long traffic jams in the city, the police added.
Special commissioner of police (law and order zone-1) Dependra Pathak said the demonstrations were taken out despite no police permission was accorded to any organisation. However, no first information reports (FIRs) were filed in connection with the protests.
Senior members of VHP and Bajrang Dal said the protests were held in response to the attack on the annual religious procession at Nalhar village in Nuh on Monday, in which six people were killed, including two members of their outfits, and injured over 60 others.
They said during the protests, members of the two outfits condemned the attack on the procession and demanded a probe by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).
When asked why they did not seek police permission before taking out demonstrations, Amit Singh, the Bajrang Dal district coordinator in north-east Delhi’s Brahmpuri, said, “The protests were planned on Tuesday evening. We didn’t have time to contact every police station and ask for permission. Our central leadership informed the police headquarters about our demonstrations.”
Police, however, said that protesters were not allowed to disrupt traffic or public order. “Senior police officers, including deputy commissioners of police (DCPs) from all districts concerned, remained on the streets to monitor the situation,” Pathak said.
Protesters carried saffron flags and chanted the Hanuman Chalisa and slogans such as “Jai Shri Ram,” “Har Har Mahadev,” and “Vande Mataram.”
Protests across the city
According to Rajesh Deo, deputy commissioner of police (southeast), traffic was disrupted for 20-25 minutes when nearly 200 protesters gathered on the main carriageway of Mathura Road near the toll plaza around noon. “There was no major disruption to vehicular movement, and the police officers present ensured that no emergency vehicles, such as ambulances or school buses, became stuck. Overall, the situation was calm and under our control,” said DCP Deo.
Before the protests at the Badarpur border, nearly 150 members of the outfits gathered around 10 am below the Nirman Vihar Metro station on the Vikas Marg carriageway towards Preet Vihar, hitting vehicular movement. The Delhi Traffic Police warned motorists to avoid Vikas Marg and take alternate routes to their destinations. The police removed the protesters from the road and contained them in the service lane outside the V3S shopping mall because they did not have permission. The crowd dispersed by 11.30 am.
Around the same time, nearly 50 people gathered in north-east Delhi’s Ghonda Chowk, one of the sites of the 2020 communal violence, and staged a nearly hour-long protest. Two parallel demonstrations were held at Sherpur Chowk in Karawal Nagar and the Loni roundabout in Nand Nagri — both spots also witnessed clashes during the 2020 riots.
Around 200 protesters also gathered in Nangloi. After allowing them to agitate for a few minutes, the police dispersed them.
VHP’s national working president, Alok Kumar, said, “We will not rely solely on the government for the safety of Hindus. Everyone has the right to defend themselves. We will exercise this right and respond to jihadi attacks. We will ensure Mewat is a safe place for Hindus.”
City on alert
In view of the prevailing situation in Haryana, Delhi Police commissioner Sanjay Arora on Wednesday directed all senior officers to increase round-the-clock vigil in their respective areas. “They have also been asked to keep complete video recordings of any demonstrations or protests in their areas,” said a senior Delhi Police officer who is aware of the matter.
Additional forces, including personnel from the Delhi Police and the Central Armed Police Forces, have been deployed in sensitive areas to prevent lawlessness, according to the officer.
A second officer said that patrolling in sensitive areas has increased, and senior officers are also meeting with peace committees in various areas. “We are also monitoring social media to prevent rumours from spreading,” said the officer, who asked not to be named.
Traffic snarls in city
Several arterial roads, including Mathura Road, which connects South Delhi to Faridabad in Haryana, and Vikas Marg in east Delhi, were congested for couple of hours between morning and afternoon. Mathura Road was the worst affected, with nearly 300 VHP and Bajrang Dal activists blocking the carriageway connecting Delhi and Faridabad at the Badarpur toll tax plaza during their protest, which began around 11.30 am and ended at 1.30 pm.
Traffic snarls were seen for nearly three kilometres towards Faridabad from the Badarpur border toll plaza for more than an hour, even as senior police officers from Delhi and Haryana continued to negotiate with the protest’s organisers to remove the blockades and allow traffic to flow.
“I was driving a passenger from Faridabad to south Delhi but got stuck in traffic for over an hour. Because the passenger was running late for a meeting, he cancelled the ride and left, saying he would take a Delhi Metro train to his destination. Many motorists and cab drivers, including myself, were inconvenienced by the traffic jam,” Pramod Kumar, a cab driver, told reporters.
Article source: hindustantimes.com