Gujjars block traffic in several places in Delhi


New Delhi : Most highways into the Indian capital were blocked Monday and thousands were stuck in traffic snarls as Gujjars took to the streets during a daylong protest to demand Scheduled Tribe status for the community.

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Traffic was disrupted in various parts of the city as protesters blocked the Noida-Delhi link road near Mayur Vihar in east Delhi, burning tyres and ensuring that no traffic got through the entire stretch from Samachar Apartments right up till the Akshardham crossing.

In the south, people from Ghitorni village blockaded the busy Mehrauli-Gurgaon road, trapping office goers on their way to work in the satellite town or those coming into the capital.

There were also protests in Khajuri Khas, Azadpur as well as the road to the suburb of Faridabad.

The protests, which had paralysed Rajasthan for most of last week, spilled over into the capital with the Gujjars here calling for a daylong shutdown.

Delhi Police said there had been no reports of any violence so far.

"We have not received reports of violence from any corner. Apart from our police force, we have deployed paramilitary forces in sensitive areas," said Dipendra Pathak, the chief spokesperson.

On Sunday, Delhi's Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) legislator Ramvir Singh Vidhuri led hundreds in a protest near Jantar Mantar and in another meeting of the All India Gujjar Mahasabha, where it was decided to call for a shutdown.

The protests that originated May 29 in Rajasthan have also spread to Uttar Pradesh and Haryana. The mass anger is directed against the Rajasthan government for having fired at Gujjar mobs, leaving nearly 20 people dead.

Five people were also killed and 20 injured Friday in clashes between Gujjars and Meenas in Rajasthan's Dausa and Karauli districts, taking the death toll to 25.