The heavy police force escorting a protest demonstration acted as a mute spectator when angry protesters went on rampage vandalising four buses, several two-wheelers and also windowpanes of many shops forcing them to shut down in various areas of the city on Thursday, in the wake of the murder of a youngster in Jawahar Nagar Camp area on Wednesday night.
Demanding immediate arrest of the accused, the protesters, including kin of the victim and locals, refused to cremate the body of 20-year-old Shammi Kumar of Amdebkar Nagar till the arrest.
Earlier in the day, the protestors struck the bus stand area and Bharat Nagar Chowk paralysing the traffic for over three hours.
Holding dandas in their hand, the protestors terrified and attacked commuters, who tried to evade the them.
In the meantime, some of the protestors went on rampage vandalised four buses, several two wheelers of public and also vandalised windowpane of the shops in wake of making the people to close down their business establishment forcibly.
Some of them allegedly vandalised the house of a suspect, Arun, in the Jawahar Nagar Camp area.
The protestors ceased their agitation around 1pm warning police of large-scale agitation and torching of the Kochar Market police post, if they failed to arrest the accused by the Thursday evening.
Though the heavy police force was deputed in the area but instead of controlling over the situation the police acted as mute spectators.
Meanwhile, the police lodged an FIR against the main accused, Arun, and his two unidentified accomplices was registered by the Divison Number 5 police under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) in connection with killing.
Additional commissioner of police (ADCP) City-2 Joginder Singh said police had launched a manhunt to arrest the accused, who were absconding.
He assured the kin of the deceased that the police would arrest the accused very soon.
However, soon after, a counter protest followed - residents of the area led by area councillor Kapil Kumar Sonu staged a protest against the vandalism - demanding stern action against the persons involved in vandalisim of vehicles and shops.
The residents said even though police were taking action against the murder accused, the kin of the deceased took the law in their hands and vandalised the house of the suspect.
The situation in the area has become tensed following the counter protest, and a heavy police force has been deployed to deal with any untoward situation.
However, the matter flared again in the evening around 5pm when the protesters chocked the Bharat Nagar Chowk area for over two hours and vandalised many vehicles, including an Innova.
Considering the seriousness of the matter, Ludhiana police commissioner Paramjit Singh Gill rushed the the spot and assured the agitators that the accused would be arrested by Friday evening.
The protestors evacuated the chowk only after his assurance.
How the matter flared up
Shammi came to Jawahar Nagar camp to meet her sister Anju on Wednesday night.
According to Vijay Kumar, brother-in-law of Shammi, Arun, son of Naresh Kumar, alias, Kala Mard, a leader of the Lok Bhalayi Manch, came there with accomplices and called Shammi outside the house. As Shammi went out the accused allegedly beat him to death and later stabbed him to confirm his death before fleeing the scene, he alleged.
Vijay alleged that police took over an hour to reach the spot despite repeated calls, and even after their arrival the police officials were reluctant to take action against the accused.
On Thursday morning, the kin of the accused gathered at the spot and launched the protest alon with the locals.
Shammi, the only brother among his three sisters, was the lone bread earner for the family after the demise of his father few years back. He was a carpenter by profession. One of his sisters was married, while marriage of the second sister had been fixed.
Shammi had planned to go to Jammu to pay his obeisance to shrine after meeting his sister at Jawahar Nagar camp, said his kin.
Scribe attacked by mob
A senior journalist associated with a Hindi daily Milap, Harish Sachdeva, was attacked by the protesters while crossing Bharat Nagar Chowk on his two-wheeler on Thursday.
Sachdeva introduced him as journalist and told the protesters that he was covering the protest, but angry protesters attacked Sachdeva with sharp-edged weapon, who suffered severe injuries in one of his legs and other body parts.
He was rushed to the civil hospital.