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HindustanTimes Wed,16 Apr 2014

Anger over Sajjan verdict holds up Metro, road traffic

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, May 01, 2013
First Published: 13:41 IST(1/5/2013) | Last Updated: 00:31 IST(2/5/2013)

Anger over acquittal of Congress leader Sajjan Kumar in a 1984 anti-Sikh riot case spilled on to the city's streets on Wednesday, with hundreds of slogan-shouting protesters disrupting Metro services and blocking an important road in west Delhi.

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Sikh protesters forced authorities to shut down two stations on the busy Blue Line (Dwarka-Vaishali/Noida line) for more than two hours in the afternoon.

At around 12.40pm, some 70 of them entered the Subhash Nagar station and jumped on the tracks as soon as a train moving towards Vaishali made a halt.

Shouting slogans against Kumar's acquittal, they held up the train for 15 minutes.

At the same time, another group marched to the nearby Tilak Nagar station, forcing authorities to shut the doors.

Most of the protesters were from the Tilak Vihar area, where victims of the 1984 communal violence have resettled.

With assembly polls due in Delhi in November, Opposition parties look set to make Kumar's acquittal an election issue, accusing the CBI and the Delhi Police of acting at the behest of their political masters and not building a case strong enough to stand legal scrutiny.

Around 13 lakh Sikhs live in the Capital and can influence the outcome in at least 10 of the 70 assembly constituencies.

In the morning, effigies of Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Kumar were burnt outside the Tilak Nagar police station.

Protesters also blocked the busy Najafgarh Road for hours, leading to massive traffic jams in the area.

The city, it seems, is likely to witness more disruptions in the coming days. A demonstration is planned outside Congress president Sonia Gandhi's residence at 10, Janpath on Thursday.

Last heard, the police were trying to persuade the protesters to move to Jantar Mantar as no demonstrations or public gatherings are allowed in the New Delhi district when Parliament is in session.

The BJP has a rally planned for May 4.

A city court on Tuesday acquitted Kumar of all charges in the killing of five members of a family in the Delhi Cantonment area, triggering widespread anger and outrage. All the other five accused in the case were found guilty.

More than 3,000 Sikhs were killed in the riots in the aftermath of the October 31, 1984 assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, who was gunned down by her Sikh bodyguards.

Reports of protests also came in from Jammu, Chandigarh and parts of Punjab.

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