Kanwariyas trash car in Delhi even as police look on helplessly

Video of violence goes viral and people condemn the aggressive behaviour of the kanwariyas who are supposed to be pilgrims

Kanwariyas trash car in Delhi even as police look on helplessly

The annual kanwariya yatra which generally translates to traffic jams all over north India, turned into a demolition derby on Tuesday. In Delhi's Moti Nagar area, irate kanwariyas totally trashed a car in the middle of traffic. Luckily, the people in the car managed to escape unhurt. They were inside when the violence began, but managed to get out. The cause of the kanwariya's anger was the fact that one of them had been lightly grazed by the car.

Videos of the violence went viral and the aggression of the kanwariyas was there for everyone to see. The violence as seen in the video begins with some of them attacking the windscreen and hood of the car with sticks. Soon they are joined by others and they systematically begin dismantling the car. Some of them are seen literally taking the left side back door apart.

Soon, they are joined by more kanwariyas and then the Delhi Police walks on to the scene. First one lone police officer is seen. He makes no apparent attempt to stop the kanwariyas. He seems to be just strolling around, taking in the violence. Then, a second police officer joins him. Both just look on helplessly, as they are hopelessly outnumbered by the kanwariyas.

Meanwhile, the aggression continues unabated and it is only after the kanwariyas literally turn the car turtle that they are somewhat satiated. A local bystander then comes on the scene and is seen urging the kanwariyas to move on.

All in a day's work for the kanwariyas.

Kanwariyas take over the roads of Uttar Pradesh, Uttranchal, Delhi, Haryana and parts of Bihar every year during the month of Shravan. Shravan is the fifth month in the Hindu calendar and generally comes between July 23 and August 22. The aim of the kanwariyas is to carry ganga jal from Ganga to the Shiva shrines of their choice. Generally they start from Harudwar, Gaumukh or Gangotri. The ganga jal is to be carried in the kanwar slung over their shoulders.

Over the past several years, the number of kanwariyas has increased exponentially. In most places, t he local police and administration make special arrangements for the kanwariyas - both in terms of reserving a lane on the roads for them and also in terms of providing logistical support like places to rest enroute. Local businessmen contribute by organising the food at these pit stops.

Despite these arrangements, driving on the routes where the kanwariyas go often becomes a nightmare. In several places entire routes are blocked for them and regular commuters have to use alternate routes. Most people give them a wide berth as they are generally perceived as trouble-makers and prone to aggressive behaviour.

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