Senior Congress leader and Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee member Sukhjeet Singh Kaka Lohgarh and two others were booked under Section 295 of the IPC and Section 3 and 4 of the Prevention of Atrocities on SC/ST Act, 1989, after a clash between candidates for panchayat elections for Lohgarh village outside the office of the returning officer, Dharamkot, on Sunday.
The other two who have been booked are Gursewak Singh and Jaswant Singh. Kaka Lohgarh was Congress candidate against Tota Singh in the Punjab assembly elections last year.
As supporters of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and Congress clashed, turbans were tossed around. It all started at about 3.05pm after candidates of the ruling SAD allegedly tried to send nomination files in the returning Officer's office even as time for filling nominations was over. Though the Congress workers staged a protest outside the RO's office, the Akali candidates succeeded in filing nomination even after 3pm.
Kaka Lohgarh alleged that Charanjeet Kaur, wife of Kulwant Singh, a resident of Lohgarh village, tried to send a file in the office of the RO at 3.05pm, another at 3.07pm and a third one at 3.17pm. "When we objected to it, Kulwant and other Akali candidates and their supporters attacked us and removed turban of our candidate for panch's post, Gursewak Singh, and during the clash the turban of Kulwant Singh also came apart," he said.
The Congress leader added that the police have implicated him under the pressure of the ruling party. "A cross FIR should be registered. The SC/ST Act is just to settle score as nobody passed comment with reference to the caste of Kulwant Singh and it is a misuse of provisions of the act," Kaka Lohgarh added.
On the other hand, Tota Singh's PA Gurminder Singh Bablu claimed that the Congress leaders tried to stop SAD candidates from filing nominations. "The Congress leaders, including Kaka Lohgarh, attacked our candidate's husband in bid to stop him but his wife was already present in the office of RO and she filed the nomination," Bablu said.
When contacted, Gopal Chand, station house officer (SHO), Dharamkot, said the police have not received any complaint from Congress candidates at the moment and no cross FIR has been registered in the case. "Further investigation is on," the SHO said.