Gujjar rage seemed to have engulfed the national capital region on Friday as community members fought pitched battles with the police, blocked traffic, smashed buses and torched vehicles.
The match was lit in Faridabad at around 8 am. Over 10 police officers suffered severe head injuries while trying to bring an angry mob under control.
The protesters took control of a PCR van in Ankhir Chowk on Surajkund Road and set it on fire. They then pelted the police with stones.
The police retaliated by firing in the air and a lathicharge. There was more action further down the road at Anagpur Crossing, where Gujjars burnt tyres and shouted slogans against Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje.
The Central Reserved Police Force and Haryana Armed Police were called in from Karnal to control the situation, Faridabad SSP Alok Mittal said.
At 9 am, the fire spread to Delhi. In the east Delhi locality of Dallupura, the police had to use mild force to control protesters who pelted stones, smashed windows, deflated the tyres of six buses and stopped traffic between Noida and Delhi.
Vehicular movement came to a standstill at Khajoori Khas-Bhajanpura road in east Delhi, where a 200-strong mob organised a chakka jam for an hour. Police used force when the mob tried to pressure traders into downing their shutters.
“If the Rajasthan government does not stop the Gujjar-Meena clash, we will block Delhi from all four sides and bring routine life to a halt,” threatened Akhil Bhartiya Yuva Gujjar Manch president Joginder Awana.
In Okhla, four persons tried to torch a Delhi Transport Corporation bus in the afternoon. At Jantar Mantar, over 100 Gujjars from Gurgaon demonstrated.
The city remained tense throughout the day.
Some 150 protesters blocked rail traffic at Ajaibpur railway station in Dadri near Noida, holding up students on their way to give exams. “I changed three buses from Noida to Greater Noida and still reached the exam center 15 minutes late. I could not complete my paper,” rued Vikas Kumar, an MBA student.
“The repercussion of the Rajasthan protest is being felt here. Police personnel have been deployed in sensitive areas,” said Delhi Police spokesperson Deependra Pathak.