M A I N   N E W S

Widespread violence marks Amritsar bandh
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 5
Smouldering houses of Balmikis in Gohana generated enough heat here as unruly youth, brandishing swords and armed with lathis wreaked havoc in various parts of the holy city which observed a bandh today.

The widespread violence compelled the police to fire tear gas shells to disperse the mob at Chamrang road.

At least 25 persons, including policemen, were injured while the Superintendent a Police, Mr Dinesh Partap Singh, had a narrow escape while an agitating mob pelted stones on his official gypsy. The police rounded up more than 70 persons. At many places, the police had to use force to shoo them away.

The arsonists damaged government property and pelted stones on many buildings. A hosiery shop was also looted near the bus stand. The agitating youths did not even spare women.

However, the bandh call in the adjoining Batala police district evoked lukewarm response, according to district police chief, Mr Jatinder Jain.

The police, however, thwarted attempts by the unruly mob to attack schools, which were open despite the bandh call. Though most of the private schools remained closed, Guru Nanak Dev University functioned normally. One girl, Varun, who was coming on her bike had a miraculous escape when she was attacked near the bus stand. She told The Tribune that she was an eyewitness to the shocking incident when a young girl’s hair was pulled.

At many places, there was a curfew-like situation, which was reminiscent of the ‘black days’ of militancy.

At least 20 vehicles were badly damaged during the bandh. However, in a press note, Mr Rajinder Balbir, district secretary, Adi Dharam Samaj, alleged that police used force on ‘peaceful’ agitators. He alleged that two activists of Adi Dharm Samaj, including Mr Ashwani Vir and Mr Raj Kumar, were seriously injured during the police lathi charge.

However, Mr Kirandip Singh Bhullar, Deputy Commissioner, claimed that the bandh did not evoke much response.

Mr R.P.S. Brar, district police chief, said in all five cases were registered in Civil Lines, A Division, B Division and Sultanwind police stations against the agitating persons.

Mr Inderjit Singh Baserke, District Congress Committee (Rural) president, condemned the widespread violence. He said it was an attempt to bring back the ‘black days’ in Punjab.

Kapurthala: Four persons were injured while several cars and two wheelers were damaged after a mob attacked two religious places, a government office and several business establishments, causing panic among the city residents even as the city police failed to handle the situation in time here today.

The mob was protesting against the torching of Dalit houses in Gohana in Haryana on August 31.

As soon as the news of attack on a religious place situated in Amrit Bazar and at Mall Road spread, residents of city converged at Mani Mahesh temple situated at Mall Road and started marching towards the Shehrian Mohalla, a Dalit locality brandishing the swords and other sharp-edged weapons.

Earlier at 10.30 in morning, the leaders of Bahujan Samaj Party (Ambedkar) and other Dalit organisations along with more than 500 activists started a protest march after converging at Shehrian Mohalla towards Deputy Commissioner’s office to submit a memorandum. Most of the youth were brandishing the swords, ‘farsas’, hockey sticks and baseball bats.

When Dalit leaders were submitting the memorandum to Mr Sameer Kumar, Deputy Commissioner, Kapurthala, the mob started attacking the building of Suwidha Centre situated in front of the Deputy Commissioner office in district courts premises, injuring four employees and breaking its window panes.

From here the mob started marching towards the main markets which were closed following a bandh call by the Dalit parties attacking each and everything.

The police resorted to mild cane-charge at Amrit Bazar and Sadar Bazar.

Meanwhile, the police had to resort to a mild lathi-charge on the youths assembled outside the meeting place after which the latter held a meeting at the State Gurdwara to decide the next course of action. SHO City Police Station Bhupinder Singh was suspended for lathi-charge on protesting youths outside the Yojna Bhavan, it was learnt.

Jalandhar: Tension gripped the Nakodar area as a group of Dalits, out to force closure of shops in Kang Sabu and nearby villages, was detained by shopkeepers at Kang Sabu and handed over to the police.


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