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Slow response to bandh in Delhi

Opposition-sponsored Bharat Bandh against price rise today did not evoke much response in the capital barring some areas where BJP and Left activists blocked road and rail traffic and forcibly shut shops.

delhi Updated: Jul 05, 2010 15:09 IST

Opposition-sponsored Bharat Bandh against price rise on Monday did not evoke much response in the capital barring some areas where BJP and Left activists blocked road and rail traffic and forcibly shut shops.

Prominent leaders Nitin Gadkari and Rajnath Singh (BJP), Sharad Yadav (JD-U), Brinda Karat (CPI-M) and CPI's A B Bardhan and D Raja courted arrest in separate protests across the capital. A large number of activists were also detained.

Most of the markets, including the ones at Sarojini Nagar, Lajpat Nagar and Greater Kailash, remained open while buses, autos and private vehicles were on the streets from the morning. Offices reported more than average attendance.

However, Metro commuters faced some hardships as BJP workers organised protests at some stations, including the busy Rajiv Chowk. Several schools, including the ones run by Delhi Public School (DPS) Society, remained closed.

Services at the Inter-State Bus Terminals at Anand Vihar and Kashmere Gate were also affected during the morning hours with BJP workers blocking its its entrances. The protestors were later removed from the spot by police.

Protestors deflated tyres of several vehicles in the city. In Janakpuri near Tihar Jail, a DTC low-floor bus was partially damaged when protestors set it on fire. No one was injured in the incident.

Tyres of 25 other DTC buses were also punctured in the locality by the protestors who blocked nearby Dabri More area. Similar incidents were reported from Hari Nagar, Uttam Nagar, Dwarka and Anand Vihar.

In Preet Vihar, some BJP activists entered into a scuffle with police during the protest. "We were trying to remove the blockade after arresting some leaders. They wanted all of them to be arrested and they entered into a scuffle with us," a senior police official said.

Small groups of activists were seen moving around forcing shops to shut down. In Khan Market, a group of protestors managed to close several shops.

A senior police official said Delhi Police had taken adequate security measures to maintain law and order during the protest. "Policemen were on streets to ensure that no untoward incident take place. No violence has been reported," the official said.

BJP claimed their supporters blocked Metro traffic at the busy Rajiv Chowk, Karol Bagh, Tilak Nagar, Janakpuri West and Uttam Nagar stations but DMRC officials said the services were not affected and ran as per schedule.

Protesters also targeted the Indian Railways by blocking trains at Nangloi, Mundka, Badli and Shakurpur stations.

Party workers started assembling around 9 am in various parts of the capital and blocked traffic in major intersections and roads like Laxmi Nagar, Vikas Marg, ITO, Preet Vihar, Akshardham and Madhuban Chowk.

Police said traffic obstructions were reported from Lado Sarai, Mahaveer Murty towards Gurgoan, Devli Mode, M B Road, Sai Baba Chowk, Rohini and Janakpuri.

Vehicular movement was also affected at Nizamudin-Ring Road T point, Tigri Khanpur, Apsara Border, Sindhu Border, Burari Chwok, Khajuri Chowk, Prashant Vihar and Paschim Vihar due to the protest.

Police said personnel have been deployed across the city to manage traffic.

The bandh had little effect on the operations of the Indira Gandhi International airport in New Delhi though some flights to Mumbai where the protests had some effect have been cancelled.

"Most of the arriving and departing flights were on schedule. No services have been disrupted though some flights to Mumbai have been cancelled," an airport official said.