Hindu organisations all over the country on September 12 protested the UPA government'smove to destroy Ram Sethu. More than 14 lakh people joined the nationwide road blockades at more than 5000 places to register their opposition to the Sethusamudram Canal Project. According to primary reports, the national highways were blocked at 626 places and trains were stopped at 125 places. Though, at some places some miscreants tried to create problems, the police dealt with them accordingly. The activists had already been directed by the VHP not to obstruct emergency services such as ambulances, other medical services, water and milk tankers and fire brigade and not to damage the public property, therefore no unwanted incident was reported from any part of the country. ?We knew the chakka jam will cause inconvenience to people. We had no other option but to take this step to warn this anti-Hindu government,? said Dr Pravin Togadia, general secretary of VHP, while participating in the jam in Delhi.
According to reports received from various parts of the country, workers from the VHP, Bajrang Dal, RSS, BJP, BMS, ABVP and others had come out in streets at 8 am and protested the government'sdecision to go ahead with the Sethusamudram Canal Project by blocking the roads. They lay down on the streets and raised slogans against the project to demolish Ram Sethu.
In Delhi, traffic came to a standstill for several hours in the morning and unending queues of vehicles were seen at Nizamuddin bridge, ITO Yamuna bridge, Akshardham Temple, Vikas Marg, Connaught Place, Dwarka flyover, Lajpat Nagar, Jehangirpuri, Madhuban Chowk, Paschim Vihar, Uttam Nagar, Pitampura, Peeragarhi, Dabri More, Dwarka Gate, Shastri Nagar, Tri Nagar, Khajoori Khas, Bhajanpura and National Highway-24. ?The patience with which the people of Delhi faced the inconvenience, would put pressure on the government to stop the demolition of the Sethu. Participation of the common man is a must to protect Indian culture and the symbols of Hindu pride, which the UPA government is hell bent on destroying,? said Dr Harsh Vardhan, Delhi BJP president. Several prominent local BJP leaders, including Prof. Jagdish Mukhi, various MLAs and Councillors were detained along with thousands of activists in different parts of the capital.
Traffic movement at 23 busy spots in Mumbai, including important junctions on the S.V. Road in north-west Mumbai, Saki Naka and Turbhe Naka, was blocked by the protestors.
Normal life remained paralysed in Madhya Pradesh in the forenoon. The workers put up pickets at vantage points to block the traffic. In Bhopal, the main arteries were blocked in at least 15 places. City buses were off the road during the agitation in Bhopal and Indore. Kolar township, having about three lakh population, remained cut off from Bhopal for over four hours due to the agitation. At Hoshangabad, National Highway-59 was blocked by the VHP workers, who also stopped the 2853 Down Durg-Bhopal Amarkantak Express at the outer of Hoshangabad station briefly. ?The traffic blockade agitation from 8 to 11 am was by and large peaceful?, said Additional Director General of Police Surendra Singh in Bhopal. In Indore, 41 VHP workers were arrested for attempting to detain trains. A stone-throwing incident was reported in Chandannagar area when agitators were challenged by a rival group.
Rail and road traffic across Jharkhand was thrown out of gear for about three hours and prohibitory orders were imposed at Giridih town when a group of Muslims started throwing stones at the protestors. In Ranchi, about 200 VHP supporters put up blockades on railway tracks between Tatanagar and Gua in Jamshedpur, delaying Tata-Gua passenger train. The Howrah-Barbil Shatabdi Express was stranded at Tatanagar railway station due to the blockade on railway tracks at Sini. Nearly 200 VHP activists were taken into custody by police. Several long-route trains were halted at Danapur and Rajendra Nagar terminals near Patna.
Punjab and Haryana also witnessed strong protest. VHP activists began blockade at around 10 am affecting vehicular movement at many places in Chandigarh, including at Sector 26, Sector 22, Sector 21, Sector 29, Sector 34, bus stand Sector 17 Chowk and Attawa Chowk. Vijay Singh Bhardwaj, spokesman of VHP Punjab unit, said nearly 250 activists were rounded up by the police from near Sector 26 but they were released later.
In Punjab, workers of BJP and the VHP blocked both rail and road traffic in Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Hoshiyarpur, Bathinda, Amritsar, Batala, Ropar and Gurdaspur. In Ambala, police resorted to lathicharge when the protestors tried to block the Ambala-Hisar highway in which BJP district president Sanjay Sharma along with eight other people sustained injuries. They were admitted to civil hospital.
Meanwhile, life in Kanpur was also disrupted by the road blockade as large number of vehicles remained stranded for hours at the busy GT road, Mal road, Tat Mill Road, Shuklagunj and Ganga bridge. The protesters also blocked roads in Varanasi, Allahabad, Mirzapur, Sant Ravidas Nagar, Bhadohi, Jaunpur, Machalishahar, Ghazipur, Saidpur, Chandoli, Sultanpur, Amethi, Kunda, Rabertsganj and Gorakhpur. There are also reports of similar protests in Meerut, Saharanpur and Lucknow. In Meerut the protesters sat on the rail track and blocked the Shatabdi Express for about two hours. About 1000 saints protested in Ayodhya, Chitrakoot and Mathura and four saints sustained injuries in police lathicharge. According to reports from Dehradun, the workers blocked the road in Dehradun, Nainital, Almora, Pithoragarah, Haridwar, Rishikesh and Udham Singh Nagar. The protest was peaceful in Rajasthan.
In South Karnataka, one person tried to immolate himself following which the police resorted to lathicharge. In Vishakhapattanam, the traffic on NH-5 at NAD Kotha Road came to a grinding halt. Traffic on either side of the national highway and also on either side of the main road going toward Kancharapalem and Gopala-patnam was held up for about 30 minutes.
In Gujarat, a road blockade was staged at Naroda, Subhash bridge, Paldi cross roads and CTM cross roads in Ahmedabad. Ten thousand volunteers were arrested. In Surat, more than 525 workers of both the VHP and BJP and several locals, including 6 sadhus who were involved in demonstrations, were detained by the Surat police from four junctions in the city. Demonstrations were organised at Bhagal crossroads Varachha, Udhna and Majuragate areas in the city. According to a report from Vishwa Samvad Kendra, while in north Gujarat, 31,000 volunteers took part in the chakka jam, 35,000 volunteers took part in south Gujarat and 20,245 volunteers took part in Saurashtra.
There are also reports of strong protests at eight places in Jammu, 1257 places in Rajasthan, 123 places in Chhattisgarh, three places in West Bengal, 41 places in Assam, 144 places in Vidarbha, 45 places in Konkan, 147 places in Tamil Nadu, 182 places in South Karnataka, 400 places in Andhra Pradesh and 23 places in Himachal Pradesh.