Caught in CAA Crossfire: A Brother, a Family from UP and School Students

New Delhi: A youth wanting to pick up his elder sister from her office, a man from Aligarh hoping to join his family at a hospital, students going to take their board exams, and women hawkers waiting to return home were among the several people caught in the crossfire during clashes in Delhi on Monday.

Clashes unfolded in Northeast Delhi’s Jaffrabad on Sunday and spiralled in nearby areas, including Bhajanpura, Chandbagh, Yamuna Vihar and Maujpur, where pro- and anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) protests turned violent on Monday, leading to the death of four persons, including a head constable, and injury of more than 50 people, according to officials.

One of the worst-hit areas was Bhajanpura where a petrol pump and two school buses were torched on a road near Yamuna Vihar border by mobs during the conflagration. Vehicular traffic remained restricted on road number 59, which leads to Bhajanpura on one side and Ghaziabad via Gokalpuri flyover on the other, causing inconvenience to commuters and locals, including students.

A 20-year-old man carrying a helmet said he had to leave his motorcycle in Gokalpuri as he tried to make his way to Mustafabad but was stuck at barricades put by the police.

“My sister works there and she is calling me repeatedly, asking me to come and take her home in this situation. I’m unable to find a way to reach her,” said the man, visibly worried.

A family from Aligarh district in Uttar Pradesh which had come to Rohini for a member’s treatment was also caught in the blockade.

“Five of us, including two women, had come here in the morning. The remaining four are still at the hospital in Rohini and I had come here for some work. Now, I am waiting for the violence to end so that I can go and pick them up and when we all can return home,” said a man, who identified himself as Abhishek Thakur, said as he sat on a pavement with his car parked near a police station.

Several school students taking their board exams were also suffered during the violence.

“I had to go through a lot of problem due to the situation in Maujpur and had to take interior lanes and bylanes instead of the main road to reach Vijay Park,” Vikas, who lives in Mustafabad and had his exam centre at New Jaffrabad.

Police have imposed Section 144 of the CrPC, which prohibits assembly of four or more people, in areas affected by violence in northeast Delhi.

DCP (Northeast) Ved Prakash Surya said police were making arrangements to ensure safety of students taking their exams.

Public transport commuters were also among those affected as the road remained suspended for vehicles and nearby metro stations were locked down briefly.

“I don’t know how we are going to return home now,” a woman hawker, standing along with a fellow hawker at C Block Yamuna Vihar bus stand, wondered as they waited for a DTC bus.

Subodh Srivastava, 55, who works in a private firm, stood waiting at the entry gate of the Gokulpuri metro station near Bhajanpura and Yamuna Vihar at 7pm, upset at the thought of putting in more effort to reach home in Anand Vihar.

“Earlier today, only the Jaffrabad and Maujpur-Babarpur metro stations were closed due to the violence. Now I have come here and found this station also closed for entry. It would be a trouble now going to Shahdara and then taking shared autos or e-rickshaw. More time and much more efforts, Srivastava said.

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