M A I N   N E W S

Police breaks protest, Bishnoi arm
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 5
Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC) supremo Kuldeep Bishnoi today managed to make a point, that his party can’t and should not be written off .The HJC organised a demonstration on the opening day of the Budget session of the Haryana Assembly in Sector 25 today to protest against the “inadequacies” of the Congress government and to press for disqualification of its MLAs who had defected to the Congress.

At the protest, HJC workers seemed exuberant as they took on the might of the police and resisted water cannons, teargas shells and a lathicharge and refused to back off for nearly 30 minutes.

The tug-of-war between the protesters and the police lasted an hour at the end of which Bishnoi landed in hospital with a broken arm. A number of his workers received injuries. The police was ruthless, smashing windscreens of vehicles of protesters parked at the rally ground even as the occupants were inside. As many as 34 policemen received injuries in heavy stone-pelting by Bishnoi supporters. After holding a rally, which was addressed by former Chief Minister Bhajan Lal, Bishnoi, Dharampal Malik and other senior leaders, the protesters marched to the barricaded area.

As the workers tried to climb the barricade and push their way through the security cordon, the police opened the two water cannons to disperse them. However, the workers huddled together to withstand the water pressure and returned for a fresh attempt at scaling the barricade.

Realising that the supporters were in no mood to relent, the police lobbed teargas shells but it had little effects. Bishnoi’s supporters responded by pelting stones at the policemen.

The police threw these back at the crowd. It seemed ill-prepared for the numbers that had converged at the venue. Additional reinforcements and another water cannon was brought in. Finally, the police managed a upper hand when a group of protesters led by Bishnoi tried to push their way through an opening in the barricades. The police came down heavily on the group, cane-charging Bishnoi and others incessantly.

While Bishnoi was dragged away by a few supporters, the police went after the crowd with batons, hitting anybody who came in the way. As if in revenge mode, they not only attacked the fleeing protesters but went about smashing vehicles parked at the rally ground, sparing none.

Later, speaking to The Tribune, Bishnoi said the police brutality was uncalled for. “We are preparing a representation to be given to the Punjab government, seeking to know how the Haryana Police was roped in to control our protest. 



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