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Migrant labourers block NH 1

india Updated: Dec 04, 2009 17:25 IST
Amit Sharma
Amit Sharma
Hindustan Times
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Curfew ensued in parts of Ludhiana following the violent clashes between police and thousands of migrant laboureres erupted in city’s industrial belt, Dhandari Kalan here on Friday morning. With a grouse that police did not act on their complaint of robbery attempt, the migrant labourers virtually seized the area forcing the cops to open fire in air to quell the mob.

As the protesters refused to disperse the district administration ordered curfew in the areas located in the vicinity of 15-kilometer stretch of National Highway No 1 that passes through Ludhiana.

“ The curfew has been imposed in all the localities located along the highway stretch beginning from Samrala Chowk in Ludhiana to Dhandari Kalan in Shanewal, a town that houses domestic airport,” said an official spokesperson.

The trouble had started brewing in the area since Thursday late night when a strong mob of migrant labourers working in area blocked train and rood traffic in Dhandari kalan and later started torching vehicles. Migrants alleged that police had refused to even listen to them when on Thursday night an industrial worker went to police station to lodge a FIR regarding an attempt of robbery. Police, however, said they had given patient hearing to the complainant telling him that they would lodge the FIR only after verifying the facts.

Dissatisfied with the cops, the migrants later converged in numbers and continued to hold dharna on highway. Later Friday morning, thousands of migrants converged on highway and challenged cops to stop them from laying seize to national highway. In the melee while a group of mob started pelting stones on vehicles passing through highway, the others set many trucks , buses and vehicles including an army truck ablaze.

Virtually taking the area to ransom , the mob looted shops. Three policemen are reported to have sustained minor injuries in the violence as cops used tear gas shells and fired in the air to disburse the mob.

By the afternoon as the numbers among protestors grew significantly, the protesting workers also blocked the Amritsar-Delhi trunk rail route, throwing the entire traffic into a tizzy. A numbers of trains including the Amritsar-Patna Express are stuck on various sections on the route.

Struggling hard to control the situation the district police has sought extra force from neighbouring police districts and in the meantime clamped curfew in the area.