Even as 550 additional Gurgaon Police personnel were dispatched and Section 144 remained in place, men protesting the release of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmaavat held Gurgaon to ransom Wednesday. The protesters blocked roads, set a Haryana Roadways bus on fire, and pelted stones at a passing school bus full of students.
By evening, Gurgaon Police had detained around 24 people.
Police said the violence began around 1 pm, when “a group of 15-16 boys” blocked the Pataudi-Wazirpur road using burning tyres. “A group of boys blocked the road and held up traffic. We expect to make some arrests soon,” inspector Sandeep Kumar, SHO of Sector 10 police station. “We used buckets and doused the fire ourselves.”
Around 3 pm, protesters set fire to a Haryana Roadways bus in Bhondsi, just after harried passengers had de-boarded and rushed away from the scene. When confronted by police, they indulged in stone pelting.
“We sent two tenders, of which only one was needed to douse the fire,” said Fire Services Officer I S Kashyap.
Protesters also targeted a G D Goenka school bus in the area, which was ferrying children to their homes. Nobody was injured in the incident. “In regard to the Bhondsi incident, we have conducted investigations. We had to use force as well. We have detained 13 people. Apart from this, we have detained six-seven others regarding separate incidents,” said Commissioner of Police Sandeep Khirwar.
“We have also taken some people into preventive detention… However, I will not ascribe any of those detained to any group. These are miscreants who have carried out this incident. Whoever has participated is being considered in their individual capacity. Any leaders or organisations who have facilitated the violence, however, will be held culpable,” he said.
Khirwar offered reassurance that adequate security measures had been made, with static deployment in place wherever the film is being screened, and patrolling parties across the district. Deputy Commissioner Vinay Pratap Singh said, “Section 144 is already in place, and 25 magistrates have been deputed along with police force at all sensitive places.”