Commuters clash with police on Delhi highway after VIP convoy stalls traffic
A video that has gone viral on social media shows motorists threatening to drive past the security barriers as they got into heated exchange with the policemen on duty.delhi Updated: Jan 12, 2018 23:57 IST
Amateur video clips of a confrontation between motorists and policemen over traffic restrictions for the President’s cavalcade on a busy Delhi highway have gone viral on social media. At the last count on Friday, one of the videos was viewed more than 2.8 million times and shared by more than 50,000 users.
The video shows motorists threatening to drive past the security barriers as they got into heated exchange with the policemen on duty.
The police tried to reason out with the commuters before one of them allegedly hit a dentist who was leading the agitated motorists.
According to Jitesh Sahgal, the dentist who recorded the incident and was allegedly hit, the showdown between the police and the people began around 9.15am on Monday.
The point where the route was closed for the public was on the Delhi-Ajmer Expressway on National Highway 48, less than a kilometre from Dhaula Kuan. While traffic was moving on the Delhi-Gurgaon route, vehicles were stopped on the other carriageway to facilitate the President’s journey to the airport.
The incident highlights growing public anger over the capital’s frequent traffic snarls which leave people stranded in their vehicles, sometimes for long periods during rush hours.
Responding to the incident, Dependra Pathak, Delhi Traffic Police head and chief spokesperson, said it was a “rare circumstance” in which the police were “cool, professional, polite and yet firm” despite “abusive behaviour” by the public.
Garima Bhatnagar, Joint CP (Traffic), denied that there was 30-45 minutes delay as alleged by some motorists.
“It is suicidal for us to stop traffic on that route for so long. Traffic restrictions for VIP movement is usually for five minutes and never exceed 10 minutes,” said Bhatnagar.
In the video, three commuters were heard pegging the delay to anywhere between 30 minutes and one hour. One commuter said his wife was ill, another said he needed to visit a hospital and a third said he was getting delayed for work.
Sahgal claimed that when his car did not move for over 30 minutes, he had walked to the barricades and found that many people had already gathered to question the policemen about the delay.
The video showed a policeman apologising for the delay, but the commuters threatened to drive through the barricading that included a rope and police vehicles. In the heated exchange that followed, a policeman who introduced himself as an inspector was seen apparently trying to hit Sahgal.
“My phone fell and the recording stopped, but I began capturing them again,” said Sahgal. In another video, motorists could also be heard booing the President’s motorcade when it finally passed by.