Six buses were damaged and a couple of people injured in a clash that broke out at the local bus stand between minibus operators and regular private bus operators on Sunday.
Panic gripped passengers on board the buses that were damaged and also those waiting at the bus stand. However, police cane charged protesters and chased them away to control the situation.
Tension brewed when nearly 40 minibus operators and staff blocked the entry and exit of the bus stand and staged a protest dharna against the regular private bus operators, alleging that staff of some of the bus operators had damaged their minibuses during the state-wide strike on Saturday.
As the minibus operators were demanding action against the staff of Baba Budha Sahib Bus Service, police intervened into the matter and ensured the protesters that they would investigate into the matter and action would be taken against erring operators and their staff.
However, the situation turned volatile when upset with the agitation of minibus operaters, regular private bus operators’ staff in a group of 35-40 started moving towards the place of dharna — a clash ensued and both groups attacked each other’s buses.
Holding lathis, baseball bats and other weapons, the protesters broke window panes and windshields of many buses, while leaving the passengers, including women and children, on board to fend for themselves.
Surjit Singh, a drive with Baba Budha Sahib Bus Service, and an unidentified man received minor injuries in the clash.
Sensing the situation moving out of control, police cane charged and chased the protesters away, while rounding up a few of them.
Assistant commissioner of police (ACP) Amandeep Singh Brar, who rushed to the spot, said: “Minibus operators started an agitation today (on Sunday) against the attack on their buses by the staff of some of the regular private bus operators on Saturday. The clash broke out despite our assurance to them that police were investigating into the matter and station house officer (SHO) inspector Lakhwinder Singh asked them to come to the E-Division police station on Tuesday morning.”
“Around 5-6 buses are damaged in the clash, while we have rounded up a few people. A case will be registered, ACP Brar added.