Uneasy calm in Phagwara, shops, educational institutes remain closed

Deputy commissioner Mohammad Tayyab said internet and SMS services will remain suspended till Monday night and will resume on Tuesday morning after reviewing the situation.

punjab Updated: Apr 16, 2018 20:16 IST
Jatinder Mahal
Jatinder Mahal
Hindustan Times, Phagwara
Phagwara peaceful,tension in Phagwara,communal clashes
Police patrolling around Phagwara on Monday.(HT Photo)

Three days after a clash between members of Dalit groups and Hindu right-wing organisations over the renaming of the ‘Gol Chowk’, an uneasy clam prevailed in Phagwara. No fresh cases of violence were reported, but educational institutes and shops remained closed on Monday. Private banks also preferred to down shutters and street vendors did not set up stalls.

The clash had taken place in the hub of the Dalit community, with 35% of population in the Doaba region from Ravidassia and Valmiki communities.

The administration claims to have deployed 2,000 security personnel to ensure peace in the city. Police also carried out a flag march across the city on Monday and deployed security outside residences of Hindu right-wing leaders.

“The situation is under control. Adequate forces have been deployed across the city,” SSP Sandeep Kumar Sharma said.

Internet services to resume on Tuesday

“Internet and SMS services will remain suspended till Monday night. They will resume on Tuesday morning after reviewing the situation. As of now, I have not received any order to suspend internet in the region on Tuesday,” deputy commissioner Mohammad Tayyab said.

Exercising his powers under section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), the DC has also directed all printing presses in the district not to print any objectionable content that can hurt religious sentiments.

Phagwara market wearing a deserted look on Monday. (HT Photo)

Arms licence cancelled

Phagwara police have cancelled the arms licences of four Hindu outfit leaders it had arrested on Sunday. The leaders — Shiv Sena (Bal Thackeray) senior state vice-president Inderjit Karwal, Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Suraksha Samiti state president Deepak Bhardwaj, Shiv Sena leader Shivi Batta and one Rajiv Chahal — were booked for attempt to murder and hurting religious sentiments.

A local court has remanded them to judicial custody for 14 days. Around 100 people, including 33 by name, were also booked on Saturday.

No other arrests have been made. An official said police are reviewing arms licences of those booked.

Cause of tension

The tension started after hundreds of Dalits, led by Lok Insaaf Party (LIP) leader Jarnail Nangal, gathered at the ‘Gol Chowk’, carrying sharp-edged weapons to install a banner to rename it, “Samvidhan Chowk” on Friday night. Shiv Sena leaders objected to this.

Following this, the two groups pelted stones on each other and opened fire, injuring five people. One of the injured, Yashwant Bobby is undergoing treatment at DMC, Ludhiana. SP (headquarters) Jaskiranjit Singh said his condition was critical. However, doctors claimed that Bobby was recovering quickly.

On Saturday, Phagwara Police registered an FIR and booked around 100 people, including 33 by name, under Sections 307 (attempt to murder), 295A (hurting religious sentiments), 392 (robbery), 353 (assault), 186, 427, 148 and 149 of the Indian Penal Code and provisions of the Arms Act and National Highways Act. Those booked included Lok Insaaf Party (LIP) leader Jarnail Nangal and his son, senior state vice-president of Shiv Sena (Bal Thackeray) Inderjit Karwal and Shiv Sena leader Shivi Batta.

First Published: Apr 16, 2018 13:41 IST