In an illegal protest rally, members of the Valmiki community on Saturday blocked traffic on the Bhandari Bridge here for more than two hours and thrashed a harassed commuter trying to make his way through.
The agitation is for a Valmiki temple the foundation stone of which chief minister Prakash Singh Badal had laid. The policemen on duty did nothing to save the man under attack. Rather, an SP-rank police officer, NK Sharma, is reported to have misbehaved with the media on the spot.
In a case lodged at Civil Lines, later, the police arrested protester Gurvinder Singh under Sections 307 (attempt to murder), 295-A (hurting religious sentiments), 382 (theft after preparing to murder), 148 (armed riot), and 149 (unlawful assembly) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Deputy commissioner of police Bikram Pal Singh Bhatti said more arrests were likely.
The DCP, however, denied that the police had misbehaved with any journalist. Valmiki Tirath Action Committee leader Inder Pal asked for the work on the temple to begin at the earliest. The community also wants members freed of false criminal charges and given justice in land disputes and matters of women’s disrespect.