The Bharatiya Janata Party and the commissionerate police are at loggerheads after the Rama Mandi police arrested a BJP worker, Harpal Mintu, for allegedly taking bribe to secure the release of a man who was arrested in a theft case.
When party workers came in the support of Mintu the police canecharged them, resulting in minor injuries to some women and minors.
The residents demanded the immediate suspension of assistant commissioner of police (special branch) Som Nath, holding him responsible for the canecharging incident.
The BJP accused the police of implicating Mintu in the case and also shielding drug peddlers. Mintu was booked by the Rama Mandi police under sections 8 of the Prevention of Corruption Act on Saturday.
Angry over this, many people, mostly women, held a protest outside the district administrative complex after which three additional deputy commissioners of police (DSPs) reached the spot to pacify the protesters and assured them of justice.
Ashish Chopra, personal assistant of Manoranjan Kalia, Jalandhar Central MLA and former minister, alleged that Mintu had been falsely booked by the police without any sufficient proof as part of a conspiracy.
He alleged that the police usually hold an inquiry before registering a case in financial cases but in this case they immediately booked Mintu on the basis of a false complaint.
The complaint was made by father of Harry who was handed over to the police by Mintu and other residents for theft at the house of an Ajit Nagar resident.
He said that the police's claim that Mintu had taken Rs 20,000 from Harry's father to secure his release was baseless.
He further said when people went to hold a protest outside the Rama Mandi police station at 11 pm on Saturday against Mintu's arrest, a police team led by Som Nath canecharged protesting women and minors.
He said there was not even a single policewoman when the protesters were canecharged.
"We demand for a strict action against Som Nath since he is responsible for lathicharge on people when they were holding a peaceful protest," he added.
Police commissioner Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh, who recently joined here, said, "Mintu has been booked and arrested after verifying everything. He is involved in a drug peddling racket operating in the city."
"Mintu takes protection money in such cases and even gives a share of this to his patrons who will also be identified soon," said Singh.
He said 20-25 aides of Mintu will also be arrested. "His name has surfaced after the interrogation of several drug peddlers who were arrested recently," he added.
"Drug and hooliganism will not be tolerated at any cost," he said, adding that no police official would be suspended on anyone's demand.
On canecharging of women and minors, Singh said, "I have already ordered an inquiry and deputed ADCP (crime) to find out reasons which prompted the police official to carry out the lathicharge."
"We will bust the drug peddling rackets operating in the city and will ensure a clean administration," the police commissioner said.