M A I N   N E W S

Akali, Congress workers clash
One dead; Cong MLA, SP booked
Varinder Walia and Gurbaxpuri
Tribune News Service

Beas, January 29
One person was killed and at least four injured when Congress men today allegedly opened fire on Akali workers near Sant Enclave here, a colony developed by the family of Congress MLA Jasbir Singh Dimpa. The MLA and his two brothers, Mr Harmanbir Singh Gill, SP, Traffic, Chandigarh, and Mr Harpinder Singh Rajan, were booked following a six-hour traffic blockade by Akali activists on the Amritsar-Jalandhar road.

The trouble began after a case was registered against Mr Manjinder Singh Kang, an Akali candidate and former Chairman, Forest Corporation, on the Congress charge that he was behind the kidnapping of a sarpanch. Agitated Akali workers gheraoed the police station for booking the Akali leader. A large number of them reached the site on tractor-trailers.

The Congress workers allegedly opened fire on the Akali workers when they secured the release of an Akali leader, Mr Sarbjit Singh Sandhu, one of those booked on the charge of kidnapping Bibi Balbir Kaur, sarpanch of Baba Bakala.

Later, the ‘kidnapped’ sarpanch was brought back to Beas from Dholbaha in Hoshiarpur.

The Beas police booked Congress MLA Jasbir Singh Dimpa and his two brothers after a dharna by Akali activists on the GT road that continued for several hours, disrupting traffic.

The police also booked Mr Balkar Singh Bal Saran , Chairman, Block Samithi, Mr Jaswant Singh, Mr Kashmir Singh and Mr Vickey Bhinder under Sections 302, 148 and 149 of the IPC .

The District returning Officer and Deputy Commissioner, Mr Kirandip Singh Bhullar, said he had sent his report to the state government and the authorities concerned regarding law and order.A report would be sent to the Election Commission after receiving details from the police department.

Mr Dimpa, when contacted, said the Akali workers attacked his election office and his workers fired into the air to save themselves. He said one person was killed in firing by the Akali workers.

Mr Manjinder Singh Kang, Akali nominee from the Beas constituency, said a group of workers were attacked when returning from a protest against registration of an abduction case on the complaint of Mr Tarlochan Singh, who alleged that Mr Kang and Mr Sarbjit Singh Sandhu, who had recently joined the Akalis, had kidnapped the sarpanch of Baba Bakala.

Mr Kuldip Singh Chandi, returning officer of the Beas constituency said although the FIR has been registered against Congress MLA and his brothers, it was not appropriate to say anything about the candidature of Mr Dimpa at this point of time.

Mr Kang alleged that two more Akali workers were killed in the firing by Congress men and their bodies remained 'untraced'.

The SAD supremo, Mr Parkash Singh Badal ,who visited Beas, described the incident as the 'murder of democracy' and sought deployment of paramilitary forces .

Last week, Mr Kang, talking to the media at Amritsar, had alleged that policemen in mufti were threatening the people of the area to vote for the Congress candidate. He had also alleged that he had received threats on the phone.

The Amritsar police had booked Mr Harpinder Singh Gill, alias Rajan, an MLA from Beas and Mr Harmanbir Singh Gill , S.P. (D), Tarn Taran, on the charge of opening fire on Mr Balkar Singh, a former sarpanch of Ball village, near Rajasansi on July 29 last year. Two gunmen and an accomplice of Mr Rajan were booked by the Sadar police station. Mr R.L. Bhagat , DIG (Border Range) rushed to Beas when told about the incident.

Mr Lok Nath Angra, SSP, Majitha Police District, said a special team had been constituted to probe today's firing incident.



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