New Delhi, Dec 15 (IANS) Residents and commuters in the heart of the national capital ran for their lives as a raging mob of almost 1,000 people protested against the Citizenship Act on Sunday.
At least five buses were set ablaze or damaged, besides various cars and a bike that were targeted by the mob. Two fire officials were injured in stone pelting as protests against the newly enacted Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2019, that seized parts of south Delhi for almost an hour as arsonists vandalised and stone pelting mob ran amok threatening residents.
Sushil Kumar who has a pan shop on C.V. Raman Marg told IANS that at least thousand protesters had pleted stone on the DTC bus that stands outside his shop completely vandalised.
This on the third day of protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2019 that will provide Indian nationality to Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Parsis, Jains and Buddhists fleeing persecution in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.. Jamia students were not involved in the brawl, the varsity union promptly announced.
The pan shop owner said no one was allowed to deboard the bus as civilians were targeted specifically. “It was due to some ‘samajhdar’ (wise) people in the group that protestors stopped pelting stones. Some people told them ‘hum sab bhai hai. Kisi ko maar ke bill wapas nehi hoga (We are all brothers, no use killing people over a bill),”
Kumar claims his shop was saved as he immediately dropped down the shutters and stood with the protestors.
Shakti Singh, a resident of New Friend’s colony (East) told IANS people were “so terrified by the protesters that many left their cars on the way and ran for their life”.
Locals of the Sarai Julema in the Jamia Nagar clashed with police after trouble began over the organising of a protest against the Citizenship Act around afternoon. Billowing smokes were seen coming out of the red DTDC buses put on fire. Black clouds of smoke could be seen from Ashram Chowk, 4.3 kilometres away.
The situation turned critical when a bus was burned by the protestors and police got into action. A photographer was injured in the stone pelting that took place during the confrontation between protestors and police.
Singh pointed at a car and said: “This car had ladies in them, the family decided to ran away fearing that the protest will hurt them. Gates of the colony were closed immediately by the guards and protestors amrched towards Gate No. 3.”
As a precautionary measure, Delhi Police have advised all entry and exit gates of Sukhdev Vihar metro have been closed. At Ashram Gate metro, gate number 3 has been closed and security deployed.
The roads around the area have been closed to traffic since. All those injured in the commotion was rushed to Holy Family Hospital nearby.
Huge traffic snarls were experienced throughout south Delhi area, from Ashram to Friends Colony to Kalindi Kunj. Police diverted traffic from the vicinity as pitched battles continued.
For over an hour Mathura Road opposite New Friends Colony’s both carriageways were blocked by demonstrator. and Delhi Traffic Police tweeted that all movement was closed from Okhla Underpass to Sarita Vihar due to the demonstration.
“Motorists coming from Badarpur side are advised to take Modi Mill Flyover from CRRI towards Nehru Place& those coming from Ashram Chowk side are advised to take Ring Road, Moolchand Flyover & BRT Corridor or DND Flyover,” it said.
Delhi Fire Chief, Atul Garg told IANS a call was made at 4.42 p.m. that buses were set ablaze. “We had sent four fire tenders which were also attacked by a violent mob,” the official said. “Our vehicle was damaged and two firemen were injured. They are in hospital.
“There is so much mob accumulation in the area that we have failed to reach the spot, and the traffic jam has also added to the problem.”
A statement issued by the Jamia Milia University said that students were not involved in the burning of buses. “It is done by some outsiders who want to disrupt the peace in the university and the locality around it.”