Police on Friday used water cannons and cane-charged Punjab Youth Congress (PYC) workers, who were undertaking a padyatra (march on foot) to the international airport here, demanding that the airport be named after martyr Bhagat Singh.
The clash between the PYC workers, who have been undertaking the padyatra for the past four days, and police took place near Singh Shaheedan gurdwara at Sohana here as police had put up barricades. As a result, a few workers suffered minor injuries. As a result of the use of water cannon, the turbans of a few policemen were toppled.
As a few stones were reportedly thrown at the police, this led to the use of water cannons on the workers, followed by a cane-charge to disperse them. The police said they had to resort to this as the workers tried to break the barricades and hurled stones at them.
PYC president Amarpreet Singh Lally, who was one of the injured, said, “Fascist tendencies of the Punjab government were on display as the police attacked us without provocation. Our intention was to pay due respect to the freedom fighter. The action clearly shows that the Badal government is not concerned about preserving the legacy of the Shaheed-e-Azam. People of Punjab will give a befitting reply to such dictators in 2017. We will keep pushing the demand and will knock every at door to press the issue.”
Many Congress supporters, along with former MP Vijay Inder Singla, Lally and Barinder Dhillon, were arrested.
The 115-km padyatra had started on January 4 from Bhagat Singh’s native village Khatkar Kalan in Nawanshahr district and was to culminate at the international airport here after passing through Nawanshahr, Rupnagar, Morinda and Kharar.
SAS Nagar superintendent of police (detective) GS Grewal said, “When we asked the workers to stop, they pelted the police with stones and tried to break the barricades, so we had to resort to cane-charge and water cannons to control the situation.”