Violence erupted at Bhargo Camp locality on Tuesday morning when a tractor-trolley loaded with bricks crushed to death a 20-year-old youth on the Jalandhar-Nakodar road.
Enraged, local residents set the tractor-trolley on fire and blocked the road for over three hours. They also pelted the fire brigade team with stones which arrived to control the flames which resulted in two minor blasts after the tyres of the tractor-trolley burst.
Heavy police force led by senior officials was rushed to the spot but they failed to pacify the angry residents who were demanding arrest of the tractor-trolley driver. They kept the victim's body on road which led to traffic blockade on one side of the Jalandhar-Nakodar road.
The protesting residents lifted the blockade only after an FIR was registered in this connection and then the victim's body was taken to the local civil hospital.
The deceased, Karan, a resident of New Suraj Ganj, was studying in BA-1 at the local Lyallpur Khalsa College of city.
Sahil, deceased's younger brother, said Karan had gone to the family-owned dairy at Jamsher complex and brought milk to deliver it to regular customers.
He said on Tuesday Karan went to deliver milk at Abadpura locality on his Activa scooter at 6 .30 am. The family got information at 7.30 am that he was crushed to death by a tractor-trolley on the Jalandhar-Nakodar road.
The residents alleged that two policemen standing near spot had nabbed the accused driver but let off him for unknown reasons.
After setting the tractor-trolley on fire, the residents raised slogans against the commissionerate police.
When a fire tender reached the spot, the protesting residents pelted it with stones after which it returned. The flames further led to minor blasts after the vehicle's tyres burst.
Deputy commissioner of police Naveen Singla, additional deputy commissioner of police-II PS Bhandal and four station house officers (SHOs) reached the spot along with a heavy police force and tried to pacify the agitators.
The protesters lifted the blockade at 10:30 am only after they were shown a copy of FIR against the tractor-trolley driver.
The fire tender was called in again to douse the flames following which the road was cleared.
The accused driver has been identified as Balbir Singh, a resident of Dudike village in Moga district.
Meanwhile, the Bhargo camp police arrested the accused at 12:30 pm from Model House, 2 km from the accident spot. He has been booked under sections 304 (punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder).
The accused, however, claimed that the victim hit an auto-rickshaw while trying to overtake it and fell on the road and came into contact of tyre of trolley.
The residents alleged that police were busy issuing challaning two-wheelers only and had failed to act against those playing such tractor-trolleys.
The commissionerate police on Tuesday failed to control the situation, thus exposing discrepancies on their part.
A senior police official said the investigation officer should have taken the victim's body to the civil hospital without any delay so that people would not have blocked the road and created violence.
Senior deputy mayor Kamaljit Singh Bhatia's son Charanpreet Singh Bhatia, alias Channi, became the victim of one such tractor-trolley plying illegally at Avtar Nagar in September 2011.
On March 1 last year, a 17-year-old Anmol and her minor cousin were killed in a road accident near Sodal Temple railway crossing after their two-wheeler was hit by a tractor-trolley. Anmol, a student of BA 1, was returning home after picking her two cousins Saksham and Sarthak from Seth Hukum Chand School around noon.
Illegal use of tractor-trolleys continues, cops learn no lesson
With tractor-trolleys plying illegally on roads, several road accidents have taken place witnessed in the city in the past few years despite city police's claims to stops this.
A number of tractor-trolleys loaded with sand, soil, gravel and bricks plying illegally at busy areas of the city were spotted.
The Punjab and Haryana High Court had banned the use of tractor-trolleys for commercial purpose, asking to use them for agricultural activities only.
Sources in the commissionerate police reveal that senior officials were mulling to shift the Bhargo Camp SHO since it is one of most sensitive localities of the city.
It was the Bhargo Camp police's negligence that led to violence and blockade on the Jalandhar-Nakodar road for hours.
Deputy commissioner of police Naveen Singla said, "The city police will launch a drive against such tractor-trolleys from Wednesday and no one will be allowed to use these vehicles for commercial use on city roads."