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HindustanTimes Tue,21 Oct 2014

Day after Dalit leaders' arrest, uneasy calm prevails in city

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Ludhiana, October 24, 2013
First Published: 21:56 IST(24/10/2013) | Last Updated: 21:57 IST(24/10/2013)

A day after the police arrested Dalits protesting on Jalandhar Bypass, an uneasy calm prevailed in the city on Wednesday.

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Heavy police force was deployed to keep the situation under control various parts of the city, especially in Basti Jodhewal, Karabara Chowk and Salem Tabri.

Dalit organisations had been protesting at Jalandhar Bypass Chowk since October 9. Fifteen of the protesters were on a hunger strike.

The Dalit organisations were demanding quota in government jobs, exemption from toll tax, `1500 pension as old-age pension, and free medical services at government hospital.

To intensify their stir, some of the protesters blocked traffic on Karabara Chowk on Wednesday for more than 4 hours and were rounded up by the police. Soon after, protesters who were not rounded up demanded the immediate release of the arrested persons. The crowd also went on a rampage spree and vandalised some vehicles, while the policemen remained mute spectators. The protesters were about pelt stones, but some people intervened to bring the situation under control.

The police commissioner has imposed Section 144 in the city and now more than five persons cannot gather at a place.

Meanwhile, the protesters who were arrested on Wednesday were produced in court on Thursday and remanded in 14-day judicial custody.

Also, deputy commissioner Rajat Aggarwal and police commissioner Paramjit Singh Gill visited the spot and assured the protesters of arranging a meeting with higher authorities. After the assurance, the protesters lifted the traffic jam but continued to sit on the protest at Jalandhar Bypass Chowk.

Though the protest was called off at 2 PM on Thursday, the police made several announcements through loudspeakers to pacify them.

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