More than 20 protesters and three cops were injured after Suwidha Centre employees clashed with the police personnel, as the latter resorted to lathicharge and use of teargas shells and water cannons to disperse them at Lambi on Friday afternoon.
The incident occurred when the protesters were on their way to chief minister Parkash Singh Badal’s native village. More than 200 protesters were detained.
The protesters under the banner of Punjab State Suwidha Karamchari Union had been staging a protest since September 30 at Lambi, demanding regular jobs.
On Friday, when the protesters were marching towards Badal village, they were stopped near Kheo Wali village by the police and a clash ensued. Police resorted to batons, teargas shells and water cannons, leaving more than 20 protesters injured. Three cops were also hurt.
Cashier at Muktsar Suwidha Centre, Tejinder Kumar, said they were holding a peaceful march and police used force without provocation. He said the cops didn’t spare even the woman protesters, and two of the pregnant women were also beaten up. “Seven of the injured protesters were taken to a Lambi hospital and hundreds of others were detained,” he said.
He said there are about 1,100 employees working for more than 12 years at Suwidha Centres across Punjab. “We have had talks with chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, but the government hasn’t agreed to give us regular jobs,” said a union leader.
Malout superintendent of police Balraj Singh said the protesters attacked the cops after which police had to use force. “Three cops were injured after being attacked by the protesters, and had to be hospitalised. Around 200 protesters have been detained and a case will be registered,” he said.
TEACHERS PROTEST ATOP MOBILE TOWER
Qualified but unemployed teachers (ETT and TETs) who had climbed atop two mobile phone towers in Badal village on Wednesday continued their protest on Friday. The protesters are demanding filling of 2,705 teachers’ posts. The union members have also been protesting atop water tanks at Jai Singh Wala village near Bathinda for the past 144 days.