M A I N   N E W S

Cops thrash girl protesters
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 21
It was brute and barbaric display of force by the police as it went berserk while clearing the way for the Chief Ministerís cavalcade heading for the Kisan Mela, organised by Punjab Agricultural University here today. About a 100 police personnel, most of them males, went on the rampage pouncing on girl protesters from the newly set up Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University. Some of the police personnel even molested and tore clothes of some of the protesting girls also. The policemen were assisted in this barbaric show by their female colleagues as well.

This happened minutes before the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh was to address the main function after inaugurating the mela at the PAU grounds . About 20 odd girls from GADVASU were sitting on a peaceful dharna to register their protest with the Government. They said they wanted to convey to the Chief Minister their frustration over unemployment. Other students maintained that after the setting up of GADVASU they feared a bleak future as the universityís degrees were not being recognised anywhere else.

Some overenthusiastic police personnel wanted to remove the students who were shouting slogans against the government. They had already been encircled with a rope thrown around them. They could hardly move even if they intended to block the CMís cavalcade from the makeshift helipad to the mela venue within the PAU campus. The students, however, clarified, that they had no intention to block the CMís cavalcade.

As the students resisted the police move to evict them, the police started using force. The policemen left their female colleagues behind and started dragging the protesting girls pulling them by hair. Some police personnel even resorted to molestation while some of them tore the clothes of some girls. The incident would have provoked instant protests from the thousands of farmers who were moving around in the mela. But the huge posse of police personnel made everything invisible. The protesting girls were outnumbered and overpowered.

Within minutes they were physically lifted and thrown into the police vehicle which was already stationed there. Most of them suffered bruises and mild injuries as the police used all force it could do against the helpless girls. Some of the girls who put up some resistance tried to argue with the police personnel that their protest was peaceful. Their pleas and arguments fell on deaf ears.

As word spread in the mela and the city about the brutal lathi charge and molestation of the girls, there was a lot of resentment. A number of political and social organisations condemned the police excesses on the innocent students.



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