As many as 10 people, including four Congress workers, a gunman of a Congress MLA and police personnel, were injured in a clash during a protest on Friday by Congressmen against the denial of permission to local Congress MLA Parminder Singh Pinki, who wanted to start an ‘open gym’ at a park of the municipal committee here.
Congressmen had been protesting against the BJP over the issue for the past many days and had threatened to lock the office of the MC on Friday.
In the afternoon, a number of Congressmen, led by Pinki and Punjab Youth Congress chief Amarpreet Singh Lalli reached the gate of the MC. A large number of policemen, headed by DSP Vibhore Sharma, and BJP supporters were already inside the MC building.
When Congressmen tried to scale the barricades to reach the gate of the MC office, BJP workers pelted Congressmen with stones and bricks. Then the Congressmen also retaliated.
The police used tear gas shells, chilly grenades and water cannons to disperse the mob, but during clash lasting about 15 minutes, ten people were injured.
Four policemen, who suffered head injuries, were admitted to the local civil hospital. Unconfirmed reports said gunshots were also fired, but the police denied it.
Lalli termed the alleged highhandedness by BJP the murder of democracy and alleged that police sided with BJP workers.
“To promote healthy living among residents of the border town, we have installed open gymnasiums in various parks of Ferozepur and people have appreciated the step, so we wanted to set up an open gym here also, but the BJP opposed it,” rued Pinki.
“Pinki deliberately created the ruckus for cheap political mileage. We had presented the matter at the MC house meeting, but it denied permission. They had been on protest for so many days, none objected to them, but how could they lock down a government office,” said Grover.
Refuting charges of police siding with the BJP, Manminder Singh, SSP, said that had the police not taken in-time action, the protest would have resulted into loss of government property as well as human lives.
“We are looking into the incident and the guilty will be taken to task. None will be allowed to disturb law and order in the district,” said the SSP.