Tuesday, November 21, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

RAF deployed in Delhi
Industrial workers on the rampage, 40 hurt
From Syed Ali Ahmed

NEW DELHI, Nov 20 — In one of the most violent agitations in recent years which spread to several parts of the Capital, thousands of angry industrial workers ran amok, torching public property in protest against the Delhi Government’s action to seal the polluting units, forcing the authorities to deploy the Rapid Action Force (RAF) in sensitive areas today.

Buses, police vehicles, fire tenders, a rail engine, a postal van and government vehicles and offices were set afire by the rampaging mob in various parts of the Capital.

At least 40 persons, including 26 policemen, were injured as they clashed with one another in East and North-East Delhi. A few of them sustained serious injuries, the police said.

Among the policemen injured were an Assistant Commissioner of Police and the SHO of Bhajan Pura police station in East Delhi. The police fired 14 rounds in the air in the Welcome Colony area of North-East district this morning in which five persons sustained bullet injuries, two of them seriously.

More than 50 persons were taken into custody and cases of rioting were registered against them, the police said.

Rioters pelted stones and indulged in brickbatting against the police. The police burst about 60 tear gas shells only in East Delhi where three policevans were damaged. Tear gas shells were also fired in several other areas, including the Chajjupura area of East Delhi, Keshavpuram area and Samaipur Badli in North-West Delhi, to disperse the rioting mob which had taken to the roads in various parts of the Capital.

The vehicle of Additional Sessions Judge K.P. Singh was attacked by the mob near Swarn Cinema Hall in the Shahdara area of East Delhi. There were reports of disruption of rail traffic as well.

About 30 buses, five police riot-control vehicles and PCR vans, about 12 petrol motor cycles, five fire tenders, a rail engine, a postal van, a Delhi Government vehicle, a Haryana Government van and the offices of Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd and the Delhi Vidyut Board located in East Delhi were set ablaze by the rioting mob during the protest which started early today and continued till late in the evening.

The Laghu Udyog Sangharsh Samiti, spearheading the agitation against the government crackdown on small-scale industries, claimed that the one-day Delhi bandh was complete. The future course of action would be decided only after the government makes its stand clear on the issue.

UNI adds: Union Urban Development Minister Jagmohan blasted the Delhi Government for its “wrong interpretation” of the Supreme Court order and targeting all industrial units in residential areas instead of only the polluting ones. Talking to reporters here this evening, Mr Jagmohan said the Delhi Government had erred in trying to seal all industrial units in the non-conforming areas instead of only the polluting ones, as per the apex court’s recent order.

Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Diushit is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee tomorrow in connection the sealing of polling industrial units in residential areas of Delhi.

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