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'Pakistan Zindabad,' Hyderabad woman shouts at India Gate, briefly halts Republic Day rehearsals

New Delhi, Agencies | Updated : 14 January 2019, 10:47 AM

A mentally unstable woman sneaked into a high-security area during the Republic Day rehearsal and allegedly shouted 'Pakistan Zindabad' on Sunday morning, police said. The woman has been identified as Sultana, a native of Nizamabad in Hyderabad, they added. The security personnel on the duty at the India Gate prevented the woman from entering Amar Jawan Jyoti. She also pushed away the soldiers who were on duty and created a ruckus around the monument, police said. The woman was held by Delhi Police woman constables who later took her to Parliament Street police station, a senior police officer said.

Investigations revealed that two days ago, the woman had left her native place to visit a relative's house in Mumbai and she got confused on the way and arrived in New Delhi, he said. Sultana was taken to hospital for medical examination from where she was sent to a women shelter home, he added.

The officer said they contacted the local police in Hyderabad to inform her relatives regarding her and it was learnt that two days ago, a missing complaint was filed in Nizamabad after the woman had left for Mumbai. During medical examination, doctors informed police the woman is mentally unstable. Other security agencies also verified the details before she was sent to women shelter home, the officer added. Police said there was nothing suspicious about the woman. No case has been registered in this regard.

India Gate remains the hub of all activities for the people of Delhi and NCR. Earlier on January 1, Braving chilly weather and severe air pollution, thousands of Delhiites, soaked in festive spirit, thronged restaurants, pubs and malls and lounged in open public spaces at India Gate and Connaught Place to celebrate the New Year with police remaining on the toes to avert any untoward incident.

Celebrations largely remained peaceful in the city on Tuesday, however, an eight-year-old boy died of bullet injuries he suffered during celebrations on December 31 night in northeast Delhi's Usmanpur area, police said.

Though mercury was on the lower side, the sun shone bright during the day, as massive gatherings were witnessed at major markets and popular party hotspots, including Saket Select City Walk, Nehru Place, Khan Market, Rajouri Garden and Connaught Place. This led to choked roads and slow traffic movements around the city. Vehicles parked along roads also added to the woes of commuters.

The swelling crowd prompted the Delhi Metro to close exit facilities at four major stations in central Delhi, including the ones at Pragati Maidan and Central Secretariat.

Exits at four stations -- Central Secretariat, Udyog Bhavan, Mandi House and Pragati Maidan metro stations -- were closed since afternoon due to swelling crowd, a DMRC official said, adding normal operations were restored around 7:30 pm.

Police said around 75,000-80,000 people gathered at India Gate lawns which caused heavy congestion in and around the area.

Buses going towards India Gate were diverted as a measure to control the situation, Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Alok Kumar said.

"Traffic remained heavy in places like India Gate, Delhi Zoo, Hanuman Mandir near Connaught Place, Kalkaji Temple, Birla Mandir, Gurdwara Bangla Sahib and Gurdwara Rakab Ganj Sahib. The stretch from the Ring Road which goes towards the zoo was closed for a brief period during the afternoon because of high pedestrian movement," Kumar added.

India Gate and Connaught Place are popular hangout spaces for people, on special occasions and otherwise.

With minimum temperature settling at four degrees Celsius, many revellers indulged in indoor celebrations hosted at various hotels, malls, restaurants, pubs and farmhouses. However, air quality of the city oscillated between 'very poor' and 'severe' causing some discomfort.

Police had advised visitors, heading out for celebrations, to use public transport as there is an acute shortage of parking space at India Gate.

The security arrangements at major markets and crowded destinations have been beefed up to ensure celebrations go off smoothly with special traffic arrangements made to regulate pedestrian movements, police said.

Security around central Delhi was heightened with emphasis on putting a check on stunt bikers and people resorting to drunken-driving, a senior police official said.

First Published: Monday, January 14, 2019 07:43 AM
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