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Now, Cong MLAs’ night out outside CM residence over ‘chitta’ Ravana

After holding a sit-in inside the state assembly for two nights during the September session, the party literally held CM Parkash Singh Badal hostage on Thursday by laying siege to his official residence in Sector 2, Chandigarh.

punjab Updated: Oct 14, 2016 09:58 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Congress MLA,Chitta,Ravana
Punjab chief minister Prakash Singh Badal trying to convince Congress leaders to end their protest outside his residence in Chandigarh on Thursday. (Sanjeev Sharma/HT Photo)

The Punjab Congress seems to have found a “tried-and-tested” formula for protest — night outs. After holding asit-in inside the state assembly for two nights during the September session, the party literally held CM Parkash Singh Badal hostage on Thursday by laying siege to his official residence in Sector 2, Chandigarh.

A day after policearrested Punjab Youth Congress secretary Parvinder Lapran for clash with Youth Akali Dal activists over the “chitta” Ravan controversy in Ludhiana, Congress leaders protested outside chief minister Parkash Singh Badal’s residence on Thursday afternoon and held a night-long sit-in. Though senior leaders, including Sunil Jakhar, left by the evening, the party’s young brigade stayed put. Congress legislature party leader Charanjit Singh Channi, whose official residence is next to Badal’s, had arranged food and bedding for the protesting colleagues. “We have brought mattresses and blankets. I have arranged food from my residence,” Channi said. A posse of Punjab cops had barricaded the area when HT visited the spot at 11pm. The CM came out in the evening to placate Congress leaders, but to no avail.

Ludhiana member of Parliament Ravneet Singh Bittu and other Congress leaders protesting outside CM’s residence in Chandigarh on Thursday. (HT Photo)

The protesters were demanding transfer of Ludhiana commissioner of police Jatinder Singh Aulakh and suspension of additional deputy commissioner of police (ADCP-4) Jaswinder Singh for their “partisan” role in registering cases of murder and kidnapping against six Congress leaders, while letting off YAD leaders with mild charges.

An effigy of “chitta” Ravana — an allusion to the synthetic drug menace in Punjab — prepared by Congress leaders in Ludhiana, had led to a clash with YAD activists on Dussehra eve. The clash left many injured, including Ludhiana Congress (urban) president Gurpreet Gogi. The car of Congress MLA from Ludhiana (West) Bharat Bhushan Ashu was also vandalised.

Youth Akali Dal workers damaging an effigy of Ravana, prepared by the Congress, in Ludhiana on Monday night. (HT File Photo)

Though Badal came out of his residence in the afternoon to pacify the protesting Congress leaders, Jakhar, asked him if his government had issued a notification that Ravana can only be black and not white. “Why youth Akali activists, escorted by police, attacked our workers? More shockingly, police registered cases against Congressmen. This is nothing but state-sponsored hooliganism,” said Jakhar.

Read | Cong protests outside Badal’s house, CM orders inquiry

The party refused to end the sit-in despite Badal’s assurance that Punjab director general of police Suresh Arora had been rushed to Ludhiana to probe the incident and would submit a report within three days. The CM later issued a statement that law would take its course and the guilty would not be spared.

Justifying the night-long sit-in, Ludhiana MP Ravneet Singh Bittu said the protest would continue “day and night” till the Ludhiana police commissioner is not transferred and cases against Congress leaders are not dropped.

By evening, more Congress MLAs trooped in to join the night-long sit-in. Ravneet Bittu, Channi and MLAs Bharat Bhushan Ashu, Surinder Dawar, Parminder Pinky, Kuljit Nagra, Balbir Sidhu Tarlochan Singh Soondh and Ajit Inder Singh Mofar were holding fort till reports last came in.

Chitta Ravan clash: DGP to submit Probe report in three days

Following CM Badal’s instructions, Punjab director general of police (DGP) Suresh Arora visited Ludhiana for on-the-spot inquiry on Thursday. The DGP has been asked to submit the probe report within three days, a government spokesman said.

First Published: Oct 13, 2016 23:20 IST