Congress and SAD workers clashed in Mallanwala Nagar Panchayat area of Ferozepur district on Wednesday. Bricks and stones were hurled by both groups, and shots reportedly fired in the air during the clash.
SAD candidates did not file nomination papers from any seat in Mallanwala Nagar Panchayat and Makhu Nagar Panchayat as party leaders alleged that they were attacked by Congress workers at the behest of Zira MLA Kulbir Singh Zira.
Both the Nagar Panchyats fall in Zira constituency of Ferozepur and have 13 seats each.
The video footage, which went viral, purportedly showed Congress workers blocking vehicles of SAD leaders Avtar Singh Minna, Vardev Singh Mann and Joginder Singh Jindu and not letting them pass from that area. Police was a mute spectator to this in the video. However, Congress alleged that it was done in retaliation to firing done in air by SAD workers and it started from the house of SAD leader Balwinder Singh. While Congress alleged two of their workers got injured, SAD’s district president Avtar Singh Minna suffered a minor injury when his car was attacked by Congress workers. Avtar Singh’s vehicle also got damaged.
Later, clash occurred at a petrol pump which belonged to one Satwant Chawla, whose mother is contesting polls from one of the ward of Mallanwala Nagar Panchayat. The incident occurred at around 2 pm, while 3 pm was the deadline for filing nomination papers. Joginder Singh Jindu, former MLA of Ferozepur (Rural), while talking with The Indian Express, said, “Returning officers of Mallanwala as well as Makhu were not giving no objection certificate(NoC) to SAD candidates. We were having a meeting at Gurdwara Jamni Sahib in Ferozepur district where Avtar Singh Minna, district president of SAD, was also present. We got a call from former SAD MLA Hari Singh Zira (father of Avtar Singh Minna) that candidates were not being given NOC and hence all of us went to Mallanwala to meet the concerned officer. But close to the office of the executive officer (EO) of Nagar Panchayat, our vehicles were attacked, firing was done in air and police remained a mute spectator.”
Avtar Singh alleged that due to the actions of Congress workers at the behest of area MLA Kulbir Singh Zira, their candidates could not file nomination papers. He said,”It was plotted by Kulbir Zira and the videos are the proof of the same.”
Jindu, meanwhile, said that they had given a complaint to SSP for lodging a case against Zira and his workers while a complaint was also being sent to Election Commission to tell that our candidates were deliberately not given NOCs.
Kulbir Singh Zira, however, said,”This drama was created by SAD as they never wanted to contest, but wanted to create a scene in order to run away from polls. I was sitting within the office of the petrol pump when firing occurred on our workers from the side of SAD. There was an election meeting at that pump. However, when more than 15 rounds were fired by SAD, our workers got angry. Stones and bricks were thrown from both sides and our two workers have also been injured. I will sit on a dharna if police refuse to register a case against them.”
Jindu claimed,”Videos are proof of who was attacked by whom. We have given a complaint to the police and we want action against the Congress workers and even area MLA.”
Asked about the complaint of not giving NOC to the candidates, Ramvir Singh, DC, Ferozepur, said,”I have given 32 NOCs in Mallanwala while 43 in Makhu Municipal Committee polls, I had asked the complainants to take NOCs from me, in case they were finding any problem. Two of them came, I told them to take NoCs right away, however, they did not take and went away by saying that they were just inquiring.”
Bhupinder Singh Sidhu, SSP Ferozepur, said that he is investigating the matter and an FIR was yet to be lodged.
During the last Nagar Panchayat polls from Mallanwala and Makhu, no Congress candidate could file his nomination papers as Congress MLA Kulbir Zira alleged that candidates were threatened not to file nomination papers and all seats were thus won by SAD.
Interestingly, this time, SAD candidates could not file nomination papers from both Nagar Panchayats following the clash.