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Cops lathicharge ITI students
Rajay Deep
Tribune News Service

The damaged PCR bikes outside the ITI gate in Bathinda on Thursday.
The damaged PCR bikes outside the ITI gate in Bathinda on Thursday. — Tribune photo by Kulbir Beera

Bathinda, December 20
Students of the Industrial Training Institute (ITI), here who were protesting against alleged misbehaviour of the bus operators were lathi charged by the police here this afternoon after they had damaged the police control room motor cycles.

The ITI students reportedly intercepted a private mini-bus, (PB-30B 9278) on way to Talwandi Sabo from Bathinda at 12:30 pm. The students reportedly asked all bus passengers to disembark and snatched keys of the vehicle from the driver.

The students, it is learnt, were annoyed as bus drivers did not allow them to board and insisted on bus passes to allow them to travel.

President, Bathinda Mini-bus Operators Union, Baltej Singh, said the ‘ticket checker’ of the bus had on Tuesday imposed penalty on an ITI student who was travelling without proper ticket. The protesting students were today demanding the ticket checker concerned be asked to come in person and apologise before they allow the bus to go.

Receiving the information, some PCR motorcycles were sent to the spot. As the policemen were small in number, the students outnumbered them and started stoning them making the policemen run for cover. The PCR motorcycles were damaged in the melee.

Sensing trouble, ASP Harsh Kumar Bansal and DSP traffic Parminder Pal Singh reached the spot and called for additional police force along with commandos and anti-riot vehicles.

But as the protesting students showed no signs of relenting, the ASP ordered a lathi charge. As the policemen started beating up the students, they ran towards the ITI premises, but the police chased them even inside the building. Some of the students were arrested from the ITI campus, and beaten up with lathis and then taken to the Civil Lines police post. By evening, at least 36 students were reported to have been detained by the police.

Girl students present inside the girls wing of the ITI campus alleged the police had entered even their washrooms. As it was recess time, many girls were inside the washrooms and they felt insulted. The girls further alleged that there was no woman constable present when the police entered the girls’ section.

Eye-witnesses alleged a person with criminal antecedents, who himself had been facing various charges, was also present at the site and was reportedly involved in beating up the students. But officials expressed ignorance about it and said the truth would be ascertained through a probe..

ITI vice-principal Jagjit Singh Brar said, “The police step is unjustified. It was the duty of the police officers to inform the authorities concerned before entering the ITI premises. They rounded up students who were simply attending lectures from the classrooms.”

Brar also alleged the policemen entered the girls’ wing and it was after hearing their shouts the college staff ran to their aid.

On his part, ASP Harsh Kumar Bansal said, “The students had disturbed peace and after damaging police motorcycles had injured the policemen. To bring the situation under control, we used force which was needed.” He refuted allegations of girl students them.



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