A mob of over 400 people gathered near NH-58 area in Ghaziabad on Monday morning and placed two dead bodies of murder victims on the highway.
The protesters demanded compensation for the victims but their protests blocked the NH-58 for over two hours, leaving thousands of commuters stranded.
This was the sixth such incident reported in the past 10 days, that took place on highways passing through the city.
Those travelling to Uttarakhand or to Meerut, Lucknow and beyond were left stranded on the highway for more than four hours in the scorching heat.
Himant Goel and his family members were fuming over the blockade as their vehicle was stuck in the traffic congestion and protests that followed
“There is no other way to get through. This is a peculiar problem as people have placed dead bodies on the highway and are staging protests. This should not be allowed at any cost,” said Himant Goel, a commuter to Haridwar. Monday’s was not an isolated incident.
Senior police officials stated that over 50 different blockades were put up by protesters in the current year on NH-24 (Ghaziabad-Moradabad), NH-58 (Ghaziabad-Meerut) and the Grand-Trunk road passing though Ghaziabad district.
Police officials have gauged the developing situation as critical.
“One hour of such blockade results in traffic jams for over 15 kilometres on either side. There are no alternative routes and we have to devote police force from at least three police stations to clear up the mess,” said Superintendent of Police (SP) Capt. M.M. Baig.
Apart from commuters, supply lines to various states like Delhi, Haryana and Rajasthan also get hit, police officials said.
“The highways are already congested and need broadening. Tough action is required against protesters,” said Rajesh Rai, a software engineer and daily commuter to Noida.
Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Raghubir Lal said most blockades are staged by local political groups to get undue publicity and media coverage.
“Monday’s incident was also ignited by local political groups which resulted in jams for over four hours. They have been identified and would not be spared,” SSP Lal said.
Further, police officials have deployed Quick Reaction Teams (QRTs) on NH-24 and NH-58, which would keep up a vigil to prevent any such situations.
“We have begun lodging FIRs and would impose stringent IPC sections. We would also use video and still images by mediapersons to identify and nab culprits,” Lal added.