Tension prevailed in the city on Friday and traffic remained disrupted on the road leading to the tehsil complex and mini-secretariat for several hours after pro and anti – reservation groups came close to a clash over carrying out a procession.
The administration deployed heavy police force and finally did succeed in controlling the situation.
Members of newly-constituted ‘Right to Equality Front’ had planned a peaceful march from Mahilpur Adda — a few metre from the tehsil complex to the mini-secretariat, where they were to hand over a memorandum to the deputy commissioner, demanding an end to caste-based reservation.
Members of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and other Dalit organisations decided to oppose the march and laid a siege to the road to prevent the march to the mini-secretariat. Many of the protesters were armed with swords and rods.
In spite of efforts to convince the groups to call of their protest, there seemed to be no movement.
In efforts to break the logjam, SP (investigation) Baljit Singh Dhillon snatched the rods from the mob and warned them against moving forward. The face-off continued till late in the evening, as neither of the groups was ready to relent.
Additional deputy commissioner (ADC) Rahul Chaba arrived to receive the memorandum from the members of the Equality Front, but they insisted on going to the mini-secretariat.
Members of this group alleged that the administration failed to protect their right to peaceful demonstration by ‘allowing’ the opposite group to counter their procession.
The pro-reservation group also blamed the administration for permitting the rally which they said was ‘unconstitutional and unlawful’.
However, late in the evening, 11 members of the Equality Front went to the mini-secretariat and submitted their memorandum to deputy commissioner Anindita Mitra. The other group submitted their memorandum to senior superintendent of police Dhanpreet Kaur.