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Complete shutdown in Phagwara over renaming of chowk

The protestors demanded that the chowk be renamed as Shaheed Bhagat Singh Chowk.

punjab Updated: Apr 26, 2018 10:14 IST
Press Trust of India, Phagwara
BJP MLA Som Parkash addressing the protesters in Phagwara on Wednesday.
BJP MLA Som Parkash addressing the protesters in Phagwara on Wednesday.(HT Photo)

Activists of General Samaj Manch (GSM) on Wednesday continued their dharna near Gandhi Chowk on Phagwara-Banga road for the second day to protest the renaming of the city’s ‘Gol Chowk’ as ‘Samvidhan (Constitution) Chowk’.

BJP MLA Som Parkash, SAD-BJP councillors as well as some Dalit councillors joined the agitation on Wednesday.

They demanded that the chowk be renamed as Shaheed Bhagat Singh Chowk.

The otherwise crowded Bansawala bazaar wore a deserted look. The outer areas, including Satnampura and Hadiabad sub-town, also observed a complete shutdown along with Phagwara’s main markets.

Deputy commissioner Mohammad Tayyab and SSP Sandeep Sharma failed to persuade the activists to call-off the protest.

The dharna got further swollen with nearly 5,000 people protesting on Phagwara-Banga road.

Parkash said Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh was misled by his partymen regarding Phagwara situation. He said outsiders like Akali MLA from Adampur Pawan Tinu and Congress MLA from Chabbewal Raj Kumar were responsible for worsening the situation by needlessly interfering in Phagwara affairs.

“The chief minister’s junior leaders had harmed him politically by giving him wrong feedback,” he said.

Parkash, an ex-officio member of municipal corporation, made it clear that only the general house of the corporation had power to rename Gol Chowk.

Akali leaders Jarnail Singh Wahid, SGPC member Sarwan Singh Kular, corporation mayor Arun Khosla, deputy mayor Surinder Singh Walia, BJP councilor Anurag Mankhand, Congress leaders Satbir Singh Sabhi, Ram Kumar Chadha, Naresh Bhardwaj, Ashwani Sharma, Kusum Sharma addressed the protesters.

Meanwhile, GSM leaders, including its president Fateh Singh Parhar and general secretary Girish Sharma, left for Chandigarh to knock on the doors of the Punjab and Haryana high court regarding the April 13 incident.

On April 13, a clash had broken out between members of a Dalit outfit and Hindu right-wing groups over the renaming of the chowk.

The incident had taken place when members of a group led by Dalit workers allegedly installed a board carrying a picture of Dalit icon B R Ambedkar at Gol Chowk on the National Highway-1. They also tried to rename it Samvidhan Chowk.

However, members of another group objected to it and that led to a clash between both the groups. Four persons were injured in the incident.