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A Day full of fear and anxiety
By Gaurav Vivek Bhatnagar

NEW DELHI, MARCH 1. Widespread fear of violence prompted closure of most shops in the Capital which witnessed sporadic incidents of stone-throwing and damage to property during the bandh called by Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the local unit of BJP on Friday.

Barring markets, the bandh had little impact on day-to-day life as most schools, offices and commercial establishments remained open. This was ensured largely by a sizable police presence and timely action against those trying to enforce the bandh. The police detained nearly 100 persons under the Delhi Police Act and arrested two on charges of rioting.

Most of the detentions were in West Delhi where activists of VHP and BJP went about trying to enforce their writ. While 28 were detained at Uttam Nagar, 10 were rounded up in Khyala.

In North Delhi, 19 activists of VHP's student wing were detained while stopping traffic at Maurice Nagar and Patel Chest Institute on the Delhi University campus. They had earlier disrupted classes in the Faculty of Arts. The Deputy Commissioner of Police, Sanjay Beniwal, said the students were let off later. Some students of the College of Vocational Studies in South Delhi also indulged in stone-throwing.

At Jhandewalan in Central Delhi, two persons were arrested after a mob attacked buses. Buses were also targeted in the Ghazipur area of East Delhi where two persons were detained.

In all these areas, the police undertook intensive patrolling. Their presence was heaviest in communally-sensitive North-East Delhi and around Jama Masjid. Contingents of Rapid Action Force were also deployed here to ensure normalcy.

The Deputy Commissioner of Police (East Delhi), Arvind Deep, said that besides maintenance of law and order the police focused on prevention of blockades on main roads. But some motorists coming into Delhi from neighbouring Noida faced problems as VHP activists tried to stop traffic at several places.

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