Mixed response to anti-quota Bharat Bandh call in Punjab

Though the Bandh was peaceful, tension erupted in Phagwara when ‘Dalit’ activists gathered on cinema road and opposed what they called forcible closure of shops.

punjab Updated: Apr 10, 2018 18:20 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India, Chandigarh
Bharat Bandh,Dalits,SC Sc Act
Members of Dalit and Sikh community submitting a memorandum to Phagwara SP, demanding action against unidentified people for forcing them to close their shops on Tuesday in Phagwara.(HT Photo)

A nationwide anti-quota strike call on Tuesday evoked mixed response in Punjab with commercial establishments remaining shut in some parts including Hoshiarpur, Phagwara, Sangrur, Bathinda, and protesters taking out marches at several places in the state.

Tight security arrangements were made by Punjab police to avert any untoward incident in the state.

“Situation remained peaceful in the state,” a senior police official said adding that timely intervention of cops at few places also averted tension among warring groups.

There was no impact on public transport and rail movement because of the Bandh call in the state. However, Ferozepur district witnessed clash between two groups leaving several persons injured over forcible closure of shops.

In Hoshiarpur district, shopkeepers of Talwara, Hajipur, Garhdiwala, Hariana, Bhunga, Garhshankar and Binewal towns observed bandh in response to anti-quota ‘Bharat Bandh’ call.

In Hoshiapur city protestors led by Balbir, president Doaba General Category Front and Lucky Thakur, president Rajput Karni Sena, took out a protest march from Jail chowk to mini secretariat and presented a memorandum to J Elanchezhian, SSP, Hoshiarpur, in this connection.

Similarly, shops and commercial establishments in Phagwara also remained closed.

Protesters, led by Punjab Shiv Sena Bal Thackeray and All India Hindu Surakhsha Samiti Punjab asked shopkeepers to close shops.

Several schools in Phagwara also announced holiday today after students reached there.

Though the Bandh was peaceful, tension erupted when ‘Dalit’ activists gathered on cinema road and opposed what they called forcible closure of shops.

Led by Jarnail Nangal and Harbhajan Suman, they presented memorandum to Phagwara SP Parminder Singh Bhandal, demanding action against those who had forced shopkeepers to close their shops.

However, police succeeded in pacifying both the groups and brought the situation under control

In Ferozepur, two groups clashed over the alleged closure of shops in the city.

The incident took place when members of one group supporting the bandh call was “forcibly” closing some shops, police said.

After around 10 in the morning, hundreds of people, carrying swords, baseball bats and other weapons, allegedly forced people to shut down their shops.

The situation took an ugly turn when the protesters forced a person belonging to Dalit community to shut down the shop in the city area. When he refused, protesters allegedly attacked his shop and damaged the property, police said.

Later, the rival group of people also reached there and argued with the protestors and pelted stones at each other. Several vehicles which were parked on the road were damaged in the melee.

As soon as the matter was reported, senior police officials including IG Ferozepur Range Gurinder Singh Dhillon and SSP Ferozepur Pritam Singh reached the spot along with police force and brought the situation under control

The injured were admitted to civil hospital, officials said.

First Published: Apr 10, 2018 15:18 IST