CHANDIGARH: Six people were injured in Phagwara after a clash between Dalits and Shiv Sena workers on the intervening night of Friday and Saturday, the situation in this small town near Jalandhar is tense but under control. Mobile internet and SMS services suspended for twenty four hours in four districts of the state to check rumour mongering on the social media.
Sources said that a group of dalit youths installed a flex board bearing a photo of Dr BR Ambedkar and renaming Goal Chowk as Sambhidhan Chow (roundabout). After these hoardings were fixed leaders of some right wing groups, including factions of Shiv Sena, gathered there to oppose the move saying that the action of Dalit body was illegal.
Thus there was reported faceoff between both the communities on this issue of renaming of the round about which led to a clash and stone pelting in which four persons were injured and dozens of vehicles, including cars and scooters were damaged. Also some rounds of bullets were alleged fired by some unknown people. Then a Shiv Sena leader Rajesh Palta was allegedly beaten up by dalit youth at Balmiki Chowk, said sources.
Following these clashes mobile internet and SMS services have been suspended in the four districts (Jalandhar , Hoshiarpur , Kapurthala and Nawanshehr) of the state for next 24 hours. The decision have been taken keeping in view the tension following clashes between Dalits and the right wing organizations at Phagwara.
Kapurthala Deputy Commissioner Mohammad Tayab and Senior Superintendent of Police Sandeep Sharma rushed to Phagwara and are camping there.Also additional police force has been deputed at sensitive places in the town.
Senior Superintendent of Police Sandeep Sharma said, " a case has been registered against around 30 unknown persons on the charges of creating ruckus and violating law by blocking highways and the police is investigating the matter. The situation is under control."
The meetings of both communities are being held at separate places. Meanwhile, the visit of Punjab BJP president Shawait Malik has been cancelled owing to the tension as he was to visit Phagwara today to address BJP councillors.
The New Delhi and Lahore-bound international bus was also diverted from Kartarpur and Phillaur. Also the vehicular traffic between Ludhiana and Jalandhar was diverted via link roads.
Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh has appealed to the people to maintain peace and harmony in the wake of a violent clash between two communities in Phagwara, while warning of stringent action against anyone found disturbing the law and order in the state. He announced that the state government would bear the entire expenses for the medical treatment of all those injured in the clashes, whether admitted to government or private hospitals.
The six injured are Head Constable Amardeep Singh, Zimmi Karwal, son of Shiv Sena leader Inderjit Karwal, Yaswant, Jaswinder Kumar, Baljinder and Kulwinder Kumar.
Meanwhile, there was a tiff between Congress and BSP leaders in Jalandhar today over the garlanding of statue of Dr BR Ambedkar on his birth anniversary. Congress leaders were able to perform the ceremony only after police cordoned off Ambedkar Chowk. Even BJP leaders Manoranjan Kalia, KD Bhandari and ex-mayor Sunil Jyoti were not allowed to perform the ceremony by the BSP. The BSP leaders have been protesting over no reprieve over the dilution of the SC/ST Act.