A day after they interrupted Metro services for over half an hour, Sikh groups on Thursday protested outside Congress chief Sonia Gandhi’s official 10 Janpath residence and the party office at 24 Akbar Road against the acquittal of Congress leader Sajjan Kumar in an 1984 anti-Sikh riot case.Around one thousand Sikh protesters in different groups, led by senior Sikh leaders, thronged the arterial roads leading towards Congress president’s residence and party office with placards around 11 am.
The protesters, including women, were divided into two groups and marched toward the two destinations shouting slogans against the government and demanding justice for riot victims.
The first group marched towards Sonia Gandhi’s residence from the Kapurthala House side while another marched towards party office from the Akbar Road- Mansingh Road intersection. The agitators jostled with police personnel deployed on security duty and tried to break police barricades. As Delhi Police had imposed prohibitory orders under section 144 of CrPC in Delhi’s Lutyens’ Zone, several senior Delhi police officers were seen requesting protestors to shift their protests to Jantar Mantar. But the protesters ignored the warnings and some of them clashed with security personnel when they were prevented from burning effigies of Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Sajjan Kumar. The protesters eventually managed to burn the effigies outside Sonia Gandhi’s residence as well as the party office. When they sat on the road and refused to move, the police detained 115 protesters and took them to the Tughlaq Road and the Parliament Street police stations. The detained protesters include Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee (DSGMC) chairperson Manjeet Singh GK and its general secretary Manjinder Singh Sirsa.
All of them were let off in less than an hour. Police said two DTC buses were damaged. Arterial roads such as Akbar Road, Motilal Nehru Marg, Krishna Menon Marg, Mansingh Road, Maulana Azad Road and Janpath in New Delhi area were temporarily closed due to the protests. “Necessary action would be taken against the protesters as they violated prohibitory orders imposed in the area,” a senior police officer said, adding the protests continued till 1 pm. After the protest, the crowd organised a “langar” (community meal) outside the Congress office.
Talking to Hindustan Times, Sirsa alleged that an inspector at the Tughlaq Road police station misbehaved with Siromani Akali Dal leader Kuldeep Singh Bhogal and threatened to shoot him with his service gun when Bhogal shouted slogans against Sajjan Kumar.