M A I N   N E W S

Challan sees rowdyism on roads
1 bus burnt, 2 damaged
Tribune Reporters

Chandigarh, November 23
It was the Akalis’ day out today. The state-wide rasta roko protest, held on the call given by the SAD-SGPC, passed off peacefully, barring some stray incidents of rowdyism from Mansa, Muktsar and Malout in Malwa and Rayya in Amritsar.

While a bus was burnt in Mansa, two buses were damaged in Muktsar and one in Malout. Akali workers had cut down several trees to block roads. The police has registered cases in Mansa and Muktsar in this regard. Only a report has been recorded in the daily diary in Malout. No arrests have been made. In Beas, the police resorted to a mild lathi-charge and diverted traffic. Some workers picked up there were later released.

The protest was to register resentment against the challan put up by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau against the Badals in a Ropar court on Saturday.

Long queues of stranded vehicles could be seen in several parts of the state during the duration of the “chakka jam”.

The Director-General of Police, Mr A.A. Siddiqui, told TNS that no arrests were made in the state nor any force used to disperse the Akalis.

Mr Parkash Singh Badal, in a statement, thanked the Akali and BJP workers for the rasta roko programme, describing it as a “complete and overwhelming success and a resounding slap on the face of the Amarinder administration”. The protest was a forceful verdict against the politics of vilification and vendetta of the Chief Minister. It should serve as an eye-opener to the Congress leaders, he added. Mr Badal regretted inconvenience to the people, if any.

On the other hand, Punjab ministers, Mr Lal Singh, Chaudhary Jagjit Singh, Mr Ramesh Dogra, Mr Raghunath Sahai Puri, Mr Santokh Singh, Mr Sardool Singh, Mr Jasjit Sigh Randhawa, Mr Amarjit Singh Samra and Mr Darbari Lal took strong exception to the rasta roko by the Akalis in protest against the challan.

BATHINDA/MANSA/ MUKTSAR: A bus was set on fire in Mansa district and windowpanes of another were broken at Malout while at buses Muktsar bus stand were damaged as part of “chakka jam”.

In Mansa district hundreds of trees were cut down by SAD activists to block roads. At Malout the party workers burnt the effigy of Punjab Chief Minister and staged dharna at many places.

Mrs Usha R. Sharma, Deputy Commissioner, Muktsar, said only one bus was damaged by Akali workers and a case in this connection had been registered against Mr Kanwarjit Singh Roji and Mr Jaspal Singh Mrar and some others at the Muktsar police station.

Ms V. Neerja, SSP, Mansa district, said a bus of the Kapurthala depot was burnt by certain persons late on Saturday. She further said a case in this connection had been registered. She added that about seven cases had been registered against Akali workers for felling trees on main roads.

In Bathinda district Akali workers staged dharna and blocked traffic in five pockets.

Mr Anurag Aggarwal, Deputy Commissioner, and Mr Kapil Dev, SSP, said there was no violence during the protest.

AMRITSAR: Barring a few incidents of rowdyism, the “chakka jam”, called by the Akalis, passed off peacefully in this border district. While many Akali stalwarts and SGPC leaders, including Mr Rattan Singh Ajnala, a former minister, and Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, honorary secretary of the SGPC, blocked traffic on the Amritsar-Jalandhar road, Mr Parkash Singh Badal stayed away from the protests.

The district police diverted the traffic at many places due to the protest ‘dharnas’ to avoid any untoward incident. However, about 12 Akali activists were injured at Rayya in the police lathicharge. Mr Manjinder Singh Kang, a former chairman of the Forest Corporation, alleged that hundreds of Akali workers were bundled into trucks and taken to various police chowkis, where they were later let off. However, a spokesman of the district administration claimed that the call of “chakka jam” had fizzled out. Mr Jasbir Singh Dimpa, a Congress MLA, refuted the allegations of Mr Kang that the police resorted to lathicharge at his behest. He said that the SAD’s call had evoked a poor response.

JALANDHAR: The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) President and former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal charged the state police with repression against his party workers during the today’s “chakka jam” in the state.

Talking to UNI on telephone, Mr Badal said the police was adopting the attitude of repression against SAD workers.

In an apparent reference to reported police baton charge in the Beas town during today’s party agitation, Mr Badal said to round up or to lathicharge people demonstrating peacefully was an undemocratic way to deal with the situation.

The former Chief Minister had a night halt at the Jalandhar Circuit House here last night.

Meanwhile, in response to the call of “Chakka Jam” by the Akalis, the District Congress Committee (Urban) today launched a mass awareness campaign against former Chief Minister and SAD chief Parkash Singh Badal by holding a series of “nukkad” dramas. The dramas will be organised in different parts of the city from tomorrow.

Talking to reporters, the DCC (Urban) president and Chairman of the Jalandhar Improvement Trust, Mr Tajinder Singh Bittu, said it was decided to hold “nukkad” dramas to expose the corrupt deeds of the Badal family. “It is for the first time in the history of Punjab that a former Chief Minister was booked for corruption, and Mr Badal will have to face the people of the state,” he said.

ROPAR: Workers of the SAD and BJP staged a dharna at Nangal Chowk on the Ropar-Manali national highway. At least 100 workers descended upon the chowk at 11 am and staged a dharna. The response to the traffic blockade call was moderate.

The traffic on the highway went undisrupted as the police diverted it to an alternative route along the Sirhind canal.

Mr Madan Mohan Mittal, former Food and Civil Supplies Minister, Mr Tara Singh Ladal, former Minister for Education, Bibi Satwant Kaur Sandhu, former Minister for Printing and Stationery, Mr Pritam Singh Salomajra, district president, SAD, Mr Jarnail Singh Aulakh, SGPC member from Anandpur Sahib, Mr Indersen Chattwal, former president of the Ropar Municipal Council, and Mr Gurinder Singh Gogi, district president of the Youth Akali Dal, were among those who addressed the dharna here.

PATIALA: Vehicular traffic was diverted on major roads in the district in view of the “chakka jam” call given by the SAD. Akali activists did not try to stop the diversion of traffic and the “chakka jam” passed off peacefully without any untoward incident.

The SAD activists blocked the national highway at Gagan Chowk at Rajpura from 11 am to 3 pm as scheduled. However, vehicular traffic was diverted via Tepla village and the ICL factory gate on both sides of the national highway.

HOSHIARPUR: On the call of SAD (B) and the SGPC, about 200 SAD (B) and BJP workers staged dharna and rally at Prabhat Chowk here on Sunday from 11 am to 1.30 pm and blocked traffic on the Hoshiarpur-Jalandhar road.

GURDASPUR: Several hundred Akali workers sat on dharna on the Kahnuwan road crossing here on Sunday and caused traffic jam from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Prominent among those who participated in the dharna included Sucha Singh Langah, president, district unit of the Shiromani Akali Dal, Seva Singh Sekhwan and Nirmal Singh Kahnon, both members of the political affairs committee of the Shiromani Akali Dal, Captain Balbir Singh Baath, MLA, and Kartar Singh Pahra, ex-MLA.

FARIDKOT: The four-hour district-level “rasta roko” protest launched by the district unit of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) at Fountain Chowk, Kotkapura, 12 km from here, on Sunday evoked a poor response. Nearly 1,000 to 2,000 workers, from three assembly constituencies Faridkot, Kotkapura and Panjgrain, falling in this district, took part in the protest.

NAWANSHAHR: The SAD-BJP leaders and workers of the district blocked traffic at Chandigarh Chowk here on Sunday in protest against the charge sheet filed against Mr Parkash Singh Badal and members of his family in court by the Vigilance Bureau.

Addressing a dharna, SGPC, general secretary, Mr Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, came down heavily on the “autocratic” functioning of Capt Amarinder Singh. The anti corruption drive of the Chief Minister was just a conspiracy to defame SAD and make it leaderless. If he is really interested in eliminating corruption from public life, he should initiate action against his Cabinet colleagues, who had been indicted by the Lok Pal. Mr Bhaur sought the sack of Mr Partap Singh Bajwa, PWD Minister, and vigilance probe on the basis of allegations of amassing 250 acres in Ropar district.

SANGRUR: Hundreds of SAD and BJP workers blocked roads at Sangrur and Sunam today.

Led by Mr Baldev Singh Mann, general secretary of the SAD, and Mr Parkash Chand Garg, executive member of the SAD, more than 200 workers of the SAD and the BJP blocked road for about four hours at the Mahavir Chowk here.

FEROZEPORE: Thousands of workers of the Shiromani Akali Dal and the BJP blocked the GT road near octroi post number 7 for several hours on Sunday bringing the entire vehicular traffic to a halt.

SAD workers started thronging Gurdwara Gamni Sahib, Vajidpur, in the wee hours today and later gathered at the GT road, raising anti-Congress slogans.

Prominent leaders who participated in the protest dharna included Janmeja Singh Sekhon, former Irrigation Minister, Zora Singh Mann, MP, Sukhpal Singh Nannu, MLA, Sher Singh and Parmjit Singh, both Ex-MLA.

Mr Sekhon, lashing out at Capt Amarinder Singh, said the Akalis would give a befitting reply to the “political vendetta” unleashed by him.

KAPURTHALA: In response of the “Rasta Roko” call given by the Akali Dal (Badal), hundreds of Akali Dal and BJP workers staged a dharna near the DC chowk here on Sunday.

MOGA: A large number of SAD activists, in response to a call given by the SAD and the SGPC, today staged four hours “rasta roko” programme by staging a dharna at Subedar Joginder Singh crossing on the GT road and blocked traffic towards Amritsar-Jalandhar, Ferozepore, Ludhiana and Kotkapura-Muktsar roads.

The administration diverted the traffic and there was not much inconvenience to public.

Meanwhile, SAD sources said the party workers from all over Punjab would be reaching Ropar on December 1, the day when Mr Badal has been summoned to appear in the court.

Police personnel had been deployed in strength on all major roads and highways to ensure peace and guide people regarding alternative routes, the sources said.

Traffic was blocked on the Delhi-Amritsar, Ferozepore, Jammu and other national highways, reports said.

MALERKOTLA: About 150 SAD workers disrupted traffic and staged a dharna at Jarag Chowk here on Sunday in protest against the filing of challan against Mr Parkash Singh Badal.

PHILLAUR: On the call given by the Shiromani Akali Dal, hundreds of Akali Dal and BJP activists blocked traffic near Muthadda Khurd village between Phillaur and Goraya from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday.

TARN TARAN: Groupism among the Akalis came to the fore when dharna was staged at two places at a distance of 4 km of each other, in response to the “chakka jam” call by the SAD leadership. Mr R.S. Brahampura, Senior Vice-President, SAD, staged a dharna at Rasulpur village and the parallel group led by the Kairon family at the Amritsar bypass.


‘Chakka jam’ fails to evoke response
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, November 23
The “chakka jam” in protest against the filing of a challan against Mr Parkash Singh Badal in a court failed today in the district. The flow of traffic was normal. The district police had taken preventive measures in this regard.

The leaders of various political parties, including SAD(A), have welcomed the filing of challan against Mr Badal in a corruption case and criticised the agitation. Mr Jaswant Singh, member, SGPC, Mr Jore Singh Makaronpur, Mr Surinder Singh, leaders of SAD(A), also welcomed the filing of the challan.

Dr Harbans Lal, MLA, Sirhind, Mr Sadhu Singh, MLA, Amloh, Vaid Hari Krishan, president, District Congress Committee, Mr Pardeep Malhotra, Secretary, PPCC, in a joint press statement supported the filing of the challan against Mr Badal.

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