A day after cane charging National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) workers at Lambi in Muktsar district, police took the stick to students on Thursday here.
More than 12 students, including three girls, have received serious injuries in the incident and been moved to the local hospitals. It was a simple, peaceful protest, but their crime was to ask the government for their due money under the post-matric scholarship scheme for the Scheduled Castes (SC) and Other Backward Classes (OBC).
The cops first locked all gates so that no one could escape. The 350 protesters included 100 girls. They were from KC Institutions; Doaba Group of Colleges Chhokran (Rahon); Rayat Bahra Institutes, and some other private colleges. Their purpose of gathering was brainstorming over schedule of protests in the next week under the banner of Punjab Student Union (PSU).
After the administration got wind of the meeting, more than 100 cops from city police station, led by deputy superintendent of police Lakhwinder Singh and station house officer Raj Kapoor, reached the venue and closed all the gates. Eyewitnesses said that after spotting the police with canes in their hands, the students had got scared and dashed to the gates, where policemen cornered them and beat them up. A few students managed to open a gate and take their injured friends out to nearby hospitals. “No official from the administration was present there to order the cane charge, and the police gave us no warning before the assault,” said PSU Doaba president Baljeet Dharamkot.
Later, the angry students sat on a dharna at Chandigarh Chowk for two hours, leading to a huge logjam on the Jalandhar-Chandigarh highway.
Girls Purneema (18), Shubam Raj (21), and Jasvir Kaur (20) broke their hands and legs in the assault; and some of the boys, including, Pardeep Singh (21), Sukhbir (20), Vikram (23), and Jatinder Kumar (24), received head injuries. Chief parliamentary secretary (CPS) Pawan Tinu visited the injured students and demanded action against the police officials responsible for the cane charge. “It’s a brutal approach to disrupt a peaceful meeting. I have asked the senior superintendent of police to suspend the DSP and the SHO involved,” said Tinu, who also pulled up deputy commissioner Ravinder Singh over the grievance of the SC and OBC students.
Punjab SC Commission chairman Rajesh Bagha has also summoned the deputy commissioner (DC) and the senior superintendent police (SSP) for clarification on the issue.
Capt seeks apology from CM
chandigarh: The Congress deputy leader in the Lok Sabha, Capt Amarinder Singh, has condemned the Nawanshahr canecharge and demanded action against the police officials responsible. He has also called for an apology from CM Parkash Singh Badal and deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal. Blaming the state government for the incident, the former CM said had the scholarships not been delayed, the students would not have come out on streets.