New Delhi: The closure of key roads and nine Delhi Metro stations in the city centre following protests against the gang-rape of a young woman choked parts of the capital on Monday.
The 2.5 km stretch between India Gate and Rashtrapati Bhavan was barricaded for traffic. The India Gate lawns were sealed off to prevent a repeat of Sunday's clashes between security forces and demonstrators.
The closure of nine major Metro stations caused immense confusion.
Thousands of central government employees had to walk long distances as Metro stations close to their offices near Sunday's protest site remained shut for a second straight day.
The metro stations which were shut are Patel Chowk, Central Secretariat, Udyog Bhavan, Race Course Road, Khan Market, Rajiv Chowk, Barakhamba Road, Mandi House and Pragati Maidan.
Delhi Traffic Police said all eight arterial roads that lead to India Gate would be closed for traffic.
The closure of roads led to diversion of traffic, causing massive snarls on major roads leading to the city centre and beyond.
"I had to walk 30 minutes to reach my office in Udyog Bhavan from Parliament Street as there were no buses, no Metro and not even autos," said Pallavi Goswami, a government employee.
"I was asked to show my identity card before police let me cross a barricade," she said.
Many people complained they were not aware of metro stations' closure.
"There were huge crowds outside the stations and no one responded on Metro helpline," complained Mahima Gupta, who travels by Metro to Gurgaon in Haryana.
Buses were packed to the brim.
"It was so difficult to even board a bus as they were all crowded. People were barely standing on the foot-board," said Rajat Singhal, a bank employee.
Auto-rickshaws reportedly demanded exorbitant fares.
"I had to pay the money as I had no choice," rued Kritika Singh, who works in a private firm.
Security personnel kept Rajpath, the stretch linking India Gate and Raisina Hill leading to Rashtrapati Bhavan, locked down with barricades and heavy deployment of personnel with riot-gear besides disallowing traffic on Rajpath and closing down nine Delhi Metro stations.
It was chaos on roads as police restricted vehicular movement around India Gate leading to huge traffic jams in central Delhi, including near ITO, Mathura Road and roads leading to the VIP areas.