500 detained to prevent Karbala protest

About 500 people were detained by Delhi Police on the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border in east Delhi’s Ghazipur on Tuesday as a preventive measure in view of the anticipated protest over the Karbala land dispute in south Delhi.

There were traffic diversions, and Delhi Metro passengers faced problems with three stations in the heart of the capital –  Race Course,  Jor Bagh and INA – were kept shut for several hours to prevent protesters from reaching that part of the city.

Protesters from Muzaffarnagar and other parts of western Uttar Pradesh, entered the capital walking from Vaishali Metro station in Ghaziabad at about 4.20 pm. According to police, they were stopped at the barricades set up on the National Highway 24 at Ghazipur. 

Police was no mood to take any risks and had made elaborate arrangements. Water cannons, tear gas and riot control vehicles were on the standby.

Maulana Syed Kalbe Jawad, a Shia Muslim cleric, who was leading the protesters had told police that they would court arrest if they were not permitted to peacefully head towards Mother Teresa Crescent. 

Police escorted the protesters into buses and took them away. Ajay Kumar, Deputy Commissioner of Police (East), confirmed that around 500 people were detained.The land dispute dates back to late 1990s’ when the then managing committee appointed Moid Khan and Wasim Khan as gardeners-cum-caretakers of a nursery, Gulzar-e-Haidri.

Though their contract expired in 2000, they refused to leave and started expanding the nursery, allegedly occupying portions  of Karbala grounds illegally. 

Later on they started commercial activities through Rajdhani Nursery, which is allegedly partnered by senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel.

Karbala grounds at Jor Bagh house graves and are the venue of Tazia processions by the Shia Muslim community.

Jawad  alleged that Ahmed Patel has been misguiding Congress President Sonia Gandhi on the Karbala issue.

“We will go to Amethi and Raebareli before the elections and raise this issue. We will tell the people there not to vote Congress,” he said. The two constituencies are held by Sonia and Rahul,

Ahead of the protest, Delhi Traffic Police had planned diversions on roads leading to Ghazipur, Noida, Anand Vihar ISBT, NH-24, Outer Ring Road, Kondli Chowk, Raghunath Mandir, Surya Nagar and Mother Teresa Crescent.

Three Metro stations were shut down. A Metro spokesperson said Jor Bagh and INA Metro stations were closed at 10.17 am and Race Course Metro station at 1.35 pm. “They were re-opened at 4.55 pm,” the spokesperson said.

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