Ramdev & Co lock down Capital


Traffic in the heart of the city came to halt after Baba Ramdev decided to take his protest from the Ramlila grounds to Parliament House on Monday afternoon.

Thousands of his supporters marched behind as Ramdev, with a black headband in place, rode first on top of a car and then climbed up to the roof of a bus. More than 6,000 security personnel also kept pace, halting Ramdev's progress less that 2 km from Ramlila Maidan.

Police put up barricades on the Ranjit Singh Flyover and lined up DTC buses to ferry the protesters to a makeshift jail in Bawana — a prospect that most people in the Tricolour-waving crowd had hoped for.

"We will be more than happy if the police arrest us. We will not indulge in violence, as Baba has asked us not to," said Rameshwar Rao, a member of Patanjali Yogpeeth in Haridwar.

As Ramdev and his supporters choked the city's roads, commuters in Central and New Delhi areas were stuck in long traffic snarls. Many passengers missed their trains.

The route towards Delhi Gate was blocked for close to five hours. An official at Lok Nayak Hospital said: "The protesters clogged the stretch, blocking the entry to the hospital. The ambulances could not come inside."

The fact that there was a last-minute change in plan by police — the protesters were taken to Ambedkar Stadium instead on Bawana — added to the chaos on the roads.

This made the traffic advisory, issued by police earlier, redundant. "Initially, we advised the commuters to take Delhi Gate via Mandi House to reach the W-Point and then ITO. But, as the protesters blocked the way, there was a sudden change in the plan to take them to the Ambedkar Stadium. By then, Delhi Gate, Jawaharlal Nehru Marg, Paharganj and DB Gupta Road areas were choked," a traffic official said.

... contd.

Please read our terms of use before posting comments
TERMS OF USE: The views expressed in comments published on indianexpress.com are those of the comment writer's alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of The Indian Express Group or its staff. Comments are automatically posted live; however, indianexpress.com reserves the right to take it down at any time. We also reserve the right not to publish comments that are abusive, obscene, inflammatory, derogatory or defamatory.