A day after a communal clash left seven people, including two cops, injured in Phagwara, Punjab director general of police (DGP) Suresh Arora on Saturday transferred superintendent of police (SP) Ajinder Singh to Chandigarh headquarters and suspended deputy superintendent of police (DSP) Kanwalpreet Singh Chahal for negligence.
The police force, led by the two Phagwara officers, had failed to control the situation, as Shiv Sena activists and Muslim men, supported by Sikhs, pelted each other with stones for over 25 minutes on Friday afternoon.
Members of Sikh and Muslim community, however, have opposed the DSP’s transfer, threatening to take out a protest march against the decision.
“DSP Kanwalapreet did nothing wrong and he should be reinstated. He simply ensured our safety,” said the head of local mosque, Ubbaish Ur-Rehman.
It was Shiv Sena that demanded the DSP’s suspension and also called for Phagwara Bandh on Saturday. Senior superintendent of police (SSP) Rajinder Singh held three-hour-long parleys with Sena workers and took up the matter with the DGP over the phone.
The police had on Friday night booked Inderjit Karwal, senior state vice-president of Shiv Sena (Bal Thackeray), and other leaders under Sections 307 (attempt to murder) and 295-A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
After the Sena activists protested on Saturday, the Phagwara police also registered a case against unidentified Muslim and Sikh activists for pelting stones at them and hurting religious sentiments of the Hindu community.
“We have recorded the statements of Sena workers and they have listed a few names. We are verifying the facts and scanning the closed circuit television (CCTV) camera footage to identify those who instigated the mob,” said the SSP.
Tension prevails in city
All city markets and education institutes remained closed in Phagwara on Saturday. The situation remained tense as hundreds of Shiv Sena activists, who had called for the ‘bandh’, gathered at Hanumangarhi temple. Members of the Muslim and Sikh communities also gathered at their respective religious places since early morning to chalk out their further plan. To prevent a repeat of the Friday’s incident, over 1,000 police personnel were deployed from various districts to stop the agitators from leaving their shrines.
Jasbir Singh new SP
Jasbir Singh, who was posted as the assistant inspector general (AIG, counter intelligence) in Amritsar, has replaced SP Ajinder Singh. Manpreet Singh will assume charge as the Phagwara DSP, moving here from Ludhiana, where he was the assistant commissioner of police (ACP, cyber crime).