Staff Reporter

Area residents block road, clash with policemen

Police use tear gas, baton charge to control the crowdThe situation remained tense throughout the day and additional forces were deployed to maintain peace

NEW DELHI: More than a dozen people and policemen were injured in a clash that erupted after a 28-year-old businessman, who had challenged dacoits fleeing in a vehicle after breaking into his godown, was run over by them at Nand Nagri in North-East Delhi in the early hours of Saturday. The situation remained tense throughout the day and additional forces were deployed to maintain peace.

It was around 3-30 a.m. that Vikas Arora and his younger brother Naveen, who ran a general provisions store from the ground floor of their A-2 Block house in Nand Nagri, noticed from their balcony that some people were loading goods from their godown -- situated adjacent to their house -- into a truck.

The two brothers subsequently raised an alarm and ran after the thieves, who got panicky and decided to flee. While Vikas came in front of the truck and tried to stop it, his brother latched on to the wiper on the driver's side. The dacoits, however, did not stop and ran the vehicle over Vikas. Naveen was also dragged for several metres as he fought with the driver in a futile effort to force him to stop the vehicle. He sustained injuries on his face and legs.

Seeing a toll tax booth and a police check post at some distance, the dacoits -- who numbered more than six -- abandoned the vehicle and fled in different directions. While some of them went towards Jail Bandh Road, the others ran towards Tulsi Niketan, which falls in neighbouring Ghaziabad.

As the news spread, local residents gathered on the streets and blocked the Wazirabad Road on the Delhi-Ghaziabad border to protest against alleged delay by the police in reacting to the situation. Raising anti-police slogans, the mob also hurled stones on some buses and when the police intervened, they too came under heavy stone-throwing. About a dozen policemen sustained injuries.

Thereafter additional forces were summoned and the police lobbed more than 25 tear-gas shells to disperse the crowd. But when that did not work, the police resorted to a baton charge.

While the police claimed that they used mild force, local residents alleged that the police beat them up badly as a result of which about a dozen people were injured.

Police managed to stop the violence and clear the blockade after about three hours. Companies of the Delhi Armed Police and Rapid Action Force have now been deployed in the area for vigil.

Meanwhile, an inspection of the truck indicated that before striking at the premises of Aroras, the culprits had also committed thefts at other places.