New Delhi: Agitating Gurjars on 4 June laid siege to all the entry points to the capital, blocked roads and resorted to violence in some parts in their bid to enforce a day-long call for shutdown to demand ST status in Rajasthan.
However, shops and business establishments were open across the capital, barring Gurjar dominated areas including Chilla and Dallupura villages in east Delhi and some south Delhi localities bordering Faridabad in Haryana.
Agitating Gurjar groups blocked key roads linking the capital to Panipat, Faridabad, Gurgaon, Noida and Ghaziabad leading traffic jams at all the state entry points.
The Mehrauli-Gurgaon Road was the worst affected as stick-wielding protestors attacked passenger buses and burnt tyres blocking the road. There were reports of police firing in the air to disperse the protestors.
Two DTC buses were torched in Aya Nagar area in Mehrauli. Buses were also damaged in Khajoori Khaz in northeast and at Patparganj in east Delhi.
In north Delhi, angry protestors set on fire a passenger bus, pelted stones and blocked roads at the Wazirabad crossing leading to huge traffic snarls.
The Gurjar agitation demanding Scheduled Tribe status in Rajasthan began last week in Dausa and adjoining districts spread to community-dominated areas in neighbouring states of Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.
Security was beefed up at roads along the Delhi border with neighbouring states and capital-bound vehicles were being diverted to alternate routes.
Trucks carrying vegetables and other essential supplies were unable to reach the Ghazipur Wholesale market abutting the Uttar Pradesh border in Ghaziabad, where policemen were deployed in large numbers to maintain law and order.
About 500 Gurjar prostestors gathered at the Ghazipur Chowk blocking the National Highway 24 connecting the capital with Ghaziabad and Lucknow.
The Badarpur area of south Delhi, which along the border with Haryana in Gujjar-dominated Faridabad witnessed incidents of stone-pelting at passenger buses and the police.
The National Highway-24 linking the capital to Ghaziabad and Lucknow was closed for traffic and a posse of policemen kept vigil at the Ghazipur Chowk.
On the Noida Link Road near Mayur Vihar, about 100 protestors threw burning bicycles on the road leading to long traffic snarls.
The road was opened for traffic around 11:00 a.m.
Similar incidents were reported from Khajuri chowk along the Uttar Pradesh border in north-east Delhi, Kalindi Kunj and Jaunpur area in south Delhi.
Gurjar leaders held a series of meetings, including a ‘Maha Panchayat´ (major congregation), here yesterday and decided to call for a shutdown in Delhi today.
Congress MP and Gurjar leader Avtar Singh Bhadana, after a meeting with some community leaders, said entry points to Delhi will be blocked as part of the bandh to demand dismissal of the Vasundhara Raje government in Rajasthan and imposition of Central rule in the state.
Delhi Police said it had made elaborate arrangements. Virtually the entire police force of over 50,000, along with about 2000 central para-military personnel, were on the streets to maintain law and order.