Udayavni Special

Tear gas shells, damaged cars: Bhim Army Chief held as Ravidas temple protest in Delhi turns violent


PTI, Aug 22, 2019, 11:43 AM IST

New Delhi: Tension prevailed in the Tughlakabad area in south Delhi after the protest turned violent, prompting police to resort to “mild lathicharge” and use tear gas to disperse the crowd, an official said.

According to the police, the protesters set fire to two motorcycles and vandalised a police vehicle, causing injuries to a few policemen.

Delhi Police said that Bhim Army Chief Chandrashekhar Azad was arrested on Wednesday. An FIR has been registered under IPC sections 147, 149, 186, 353, 332 at Govindpuri police station, reported ANI. Other protestors are also in police custody and further investigation is underway.

“Police lobbed tear gas shells and used mild lathicharge to disperse the crowd. We have detained a few persons,” the senior official said.

The protesters turned violent during their march to the site of the temple demolished by the Delhi Development Authority on August 10 on the orders of the Supreme Court.

Earlier in the day, thousands of Dalits, who trooped into Delhi from various parts of the country in buses and trains, marched from Ambedkar Bhawan in Jhandewalan to Ramlila Maidan in central Delhi, protesting the recent demolition of the temple in the Tughlakabad forest area.

Wearing blue caps and carrying flags, protesters of all age groups marched from Ambedkar Bhawan in Jhandewalan to the Ramlila Maidan. Traffic movement was affected in some parts of the city due to this.

Cries of ‘Jai Bhim’ rend the air as the protesters, who arrived from Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and other states, demanded that the government hand over the plot of land to the community and rebuild the temple.

A Dalit protest brought the movement of traffic in several parts of Delhi to a standstill, as police personnel struggled to bring the situation under control.

In view of the massive protest against the demolition of a Ravidas temple, the Delhi Traffic Police issued several advisories, urging commuters to avoid stretches which witnessed heavy snarls.

It said traffic moved bumper-to-bumper in entire southeast Delhi, including Jasola Vihar, Greater Kailash, Alaknanda, Sangam Vihar, Kalkaji Mandir, roads leading to Govindpuri, Nehru Place, Badarpur and Noida.

A traffic police officer said the protesters were squatting on the roads and police personnel were trying to convince them to call off the protest.

“We have not been able to reach a solution so far. Traffic in entire southeast Delhi has come to a standstill,” he said.

Earlier in the day, the protest led to traffic snarls in central Delhi as thousands of protesters hit the streets against the demolition of the temple.

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