The road was bad. A speeding container lost control and met with an accident. A man was killed. A riot ensued. Twenty-one policemen and nine locals were injured. In Sangam Vihar on Saturday all that could go wrong went wrong.
Suraj Verma, a 48-year-old tailor, was sitting on a wall opposite the Tughlaqabad Fort. He lived in the adjacent slum.
The driver of the container, travelling at a high speed on the road full of potholes, lost control. The vehicle toppled and Verma came under it. “On Saturday around 6 a.m., a container, coming from the Inland Container Depot (ICD), fell on a man and he was crushed below it. The driver fled from the spot,” a senior police officer said.
The police said the local residents gathered at the scene and refused to take Verma’s body. The police had to fire
tear gas shells and lathicharge to disperse the mob. “We tried to reason with them. The person may have been alive. But they would not listen. Soon, a crowd started pelting stones on the police. A head constable was attacked. He suffered head injuries and is battling for life now,” Shalini Singh, DCP (southwest), said.
The locals, however, claimed the police opened fire on them and batons were used to beat up women. “I lost my husband in the accident. If that were not enough, the police also thrashed my daughters and me with a wooden staff,” said Heera Devi, Verma’s wife.
The riots continued for three hours and senior officers including the area DCP had to rush to the spot to control the situation.