Nine cops were injured on Tuesday, four of them seriously, in alleged stone-pelting by a mob which was staging a protest at Butter Kalan village here over torn pages of a holy book found near a religious place in Faridkot.
The injured cops included two Assistant Sub Inspectors (ASIs) and a Station House Officer (SHO), the police said.
While police denied that they used force to disperse the mob, the protesters claimed they had been forcibly asked to move from the spot following which the scuffle broke out. The police fired some shots in the air to disperse the mob, the officials said while claiming that none of the protesters were injured.
The mob blocked the traffic at Butter Kalan village on the Moga-Barnala road, 20 kms from here, to protest the tearing of the holy book.
The protesters, however, later lifted the blockade after being persuaded by senior district officials. Deputy Commissioner Parminder Singh Gill and SSP Charanjit Singh spoke to the panchayat and village elders and succeeded in making the villagers to end the protest.
“The situation is now under control,” Gill said. Yesterday, torn pages of the holy book were found near a religious place in Burj Jawahar Singh village of Faridkot district, triggering protests from the locals who demanded the arrest of the culprits.
According to officials, the holy book was stolen from the religious place, located on Bathinda-Kotkapura road, a few days back. “The torn pages appear to be of the stolen book.”
Deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal had on Monday directed state police chief Sumedh Singh Saini to take prompt action against those behind the act. He had also urged the people to maintain peace and communal harmony.
Sukhbir, who also holds the home portfolio, had said the act of sacrilege was sponsored by certain forces who wanted to sow the seeds of communal tension in Punjab and take the state back to turbulent times.