As protests rock the Capital over the amended Citizenship Act (CAA), the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) on Thursday closed as many as 19 metro stations across the network. Several commuters were left stranded especially at key interchange stations with their plans for the day going for a toss.
“How long can they keep metro stations shut? People have to go on with their lives,” said Zanab Khan, who was stuck at Rajiv Chowk, attempting to make her way to the demonstration at Jantar Mantar.
The first few stations to be closed were Jamia Millia Islamia, Jasola Vihar Shaheen Bagh and Munirka on the Magenta Line; Lal Quila and Jama Masjid on the Violent Line and Chandni Chowk and Vishwavidyalaya on the Yellow Line. Subsequently, the DMRC closed entry and exit gates of Patel Chowk, Lok Kalyan Marg and Udyog Bhawan on the Yellow Line; Pragati Maidan and Barakhamba Road on the Blue Line and ITO, Khan Market and Mandi House on the Violent Line.
DMRC officials said that the stations were closed following directions from Delhi Police in view of the protest marches that took place in Red Fort, Mandi House and Jantar Mantar. Major transit points like the Central Secretariat and Rajiv Chowk were also closed for nearly six hours and two hours respectively. However, the interchange facility was available to commuters during this period, officials said.
Janaki Fernandes, also part of the protests, said that the shutting down of metro stations was “dictatorial and terrifying”. Terming the move “draconian”, she asked “Is the government showing that it is afraid by curbing all this?”
Others, however, argued that the government was well within its rights to take security precautions. Ram Anand, who had been waiting at the Rajiv Chowk Metro Station for about half an hour, said that the move caused inconvenience to the public but it is the government’s wish, they can do whatever they want to control the situation.”
Meanwhile, DMRC officials said: “As a precautionary measure amid protests, Delhi Metro had to close the gates of a few metro stations. The safety of our passengers and security of metro property is paramount to us and we have to ensure the same as per the advice given by authorities.”