More internal violence hitting the ruling alliance on Wednesday night here left four people, including the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidates from wards 5 and 6, injured critically after an Akali nominee and his supporters allegedly attacked them with sharp-edged weapons.
Around 7pm on Wednesday near the Kahnuwan road, the armed supporters of former Batala SAD president and Akal nominee Balbir Singh Bittu allegedly turned on BJP candidate Raj Kumar and his peaceful campaigners in Ward 5. Ward 6 candidate Surjeet Kumar and his team that came over to rescue the BJP workers met the same fate and had to flee to save their lives.
The police force from the Simble post that came there under the charge of assistant sub inspector Parkash Singh did not resist the armed Akalis and take the injured to the hospital until district BJP president Suresh Bhatia got there and threatened a protest. "The Akali goons can't scare us by these cheap tactics, even if the police are on their side under political pressure," said Bhatia.
He said that even though he had called the Batala senior superintendent of police, the force had taken 30 minutes to go 200 metres from the Simble post. Demanding action against the Akali leader Balbir Singh Bittu and his supporters, he said the BJP would protest against the police otherwise.
Civil Lines station house officer (SHO) Sukhinder Singh confirmed that the police had registered a case under Sections 324 (causing injuries by weapons), 323 (punishment for causing injuries voluntarily), 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation), 148 (armed riot), 149 (unlawful assembly with common intent) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and various sections of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes Act against Balbir Singh, Gurbinder Singh, Rubal, Satnam Singh and a dozen unidentified people, who were on the run.
SAD halqa in-charge Lakhbir Singh Lodhinangal was unavailable for comments even after repeated attempts to contact him, while district SAD president (urban) Subash Ohri said it were the BJP candidate and supporters who had attacked the Akali workers on being stopped from raising provocative slogans against Bittu.
"They (the BJP workers) got themselves admitted to the hospital to politicise the incident," said Ohri, adding that he had told the party high command about it.