Tribune News Service
Patiala, October 23
Tension gripped Rajpura city after some labourers, employed at the local grain market, went on the rampage, attacked policemen, torched a motorcycle and thrashed local residents. The police had to resort to a mild lathicharge and fire into the air to disperse the mob.
According to eyewitnesses, some migrants employed as labourers in the new grain market in Rajpura today held a protest by placing the body of a fellow labourer, Rajju (43), in the market. Migrant labourers, including women, threw stones and bricks on everyone in their range for over an hour till the police reached the spot.
“The labourers were demanding that the employer, a local arhtiya, should pay compensation for Rajju’s death. However, the arhtiya was willing to pay only for Rajju’s cremation and the money spent on his treatment. Rajju had died of some disease,” said the SHO, Rajpura (City), Subhash. “Perturbed and not satisfied with the reply, some labourers placed the body in the busy Rajpura main road and started raising slogans and blocked the road. When a PCR team reached the spot, the migrants attacked it and badly injured one of the policemen,” he said.
The mob turned violent and started throwing stones at passersby and shops in the market. They even torched a police motorcycle and thrashed a few local residents. Thereafter some local residents gathered at the spot and opposed the migrants. The situation became tense as the migrants openly challenged the authorities.
In the meantime, a heavy police force from nearby police stations and senior police officers reached the spot and defused the situation. “We had to lathicharge the mob, which was willing to attack anyone trying to talk to them. As they resisted our men, we had to fire into the air to disperse them,” said a police official.
The local arhtiya association claimed that the family members of the deceased, Rajju, had no problems with anyone and were willing to cremate him. However, some migrants were hell bent on instigating other labourers, demanding compensation for the deceased’s kin.
Rajju had taken ill last week and was earlier admitted to the Rajpura Civil Hospital from where he was referred to Government Raindra Hospital, where he died during treatment on Tuesday. The police said they had sent Rajju’s body for a postmortem and it would be cremated after that.
Till the filing of this report, the police were in the process of registering an FIR in this regard.
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