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New Delhi under siege

When more than 30,000 farmers were holding the city to ransom, Delhi Police was busy handling the movement of VIPs, reports Vijaita Singh.

delhi Updated: Nov 20, 2009 00:11 IST
Vijaita Singh

When more than 30,000 farmers were holding the city to ransom, Delhi Police was busy handling the movement of VIPs.

Common people bore the burnt as they several struggled to reach their destinations in the spiraling traffic jams till late on Thursday.

According to police estimates, around 10,000 farmers were to gather at Ramlila Maidan from 11 am on Thursday.

More than 30,000 farmers turned up for the rally at 7.30 am.

Police said a chunk of the force was deployed to secure routes in the morning as VIPs went to Shakti Sthal to pay homage to former prime minister Indira Gandhi on her 92nd birth anniversary.

“It was the first day of the winter session of Parliament. We had to ensure these roads were congestion free,” said a senior police officer on condition of anonymity.

Police said they had to make sure the protestors did not reach the Parliament and formed a human ring around it.

Mayhem on road

While marching towards Jantar Mantar, the crowd ran amok on Ranjeet Singh flyover.

A 2,500 strong police force was deployed in areas around Connaught Place.

“We stopped short of firing at the crowd. Around 3.15 pm, a bunch of 20 drunk men lay down on Janpath road and started shouting slogans. Out of fear, the shopkeepers shut shop,” said the officer.

More than 536 buses, tractors and SUVs that carried the protestors to the city were parked on Tolstoy Marg, Janpath, Parliament Street, Kasturba Gandhi Marg causing traffic jams.

Road signs, trees, electric poles and railings were broken and taken away by the rally participants.

Archit Soni (name changed), who was heading for his office at CP, was harassed by a group of five.

“I was near the Park Hotel when I got stuck in a jam. A group of people started hitting my car with plastic bottles,” said Soni.

He said they threatened to beat him and snatched his spectacles when he rolled down the window to talk to them.

The trade fair added to the chaos as some of the protestors wanted to take joyrides.