A protest over alleged police laxity in arresting three persons accused of abducting and raping a minor girl from Shekhonwala Khu village on Monday took a violent turn as relatives of the victim and residents of the area clashed with the police on National Highway 1 here on Tuesday.
As the two sides pelted the other with stones, the police used teargas to disburse the protesters. The protesters first blocked the highway in the morning but relented when the police promised action.
But their patience gave way by the evening, and they resumed the blockade around 5pm. The protesters turned riotous when the police sought to disburse them and not only threw stones at the cops, but also damaged some police vehicles and some shops.
Windowpanes of some buses were also broken, though there were no reports of any passenger getting injured. As the police retaliated with bricks and teargas, at least 10 people got injured, though the exact number could not be ascertained.
At least four police personnel also received injuries, said superintendent of police (detective) Gurmit Singh, who was at the spot. The situation looked under control after 9pm as SP (operation) Rajinder Singh and deputy superintendent of police (DSP) Harpreet Singh Benipal also rushed to the area.
Pamma and Jassa, residents of Shekhonwala Khu, and Pinda, a resident of Bidhipur village, allegedly abducted a 14-year-old Dalit girl when she was returning from an evening class. The girl in her complaint to police said they took her to an unknown place in a car and allegedly raped her.
They later dumped her near Dayalpur. She managed to get home and told her parents. The girl has been medically examined, and a report is awaited. The police have rounded up some of the relatives of the accused.
District secretary of the Pendu Mazdoor Union, Kashmir Singh Ghugshore condemned the police action on people, “Instead of arresting the rape accused, the police used brutal force to curb the common people’s voice.”
BSP leader Kamaldev Singh Jandusingha said the accused enjoyed “political patronage”. “We are searching for the accused,” assured the DSP.