Youth Akali Dal (YAD) and Congress workers clashed late Monday night at the Glada ground on Chandigarh road. Congress alleged the police too supported the Akalis. Congress had planned to burn a chhitta (white) Raavan here. The white colour, they claimed, was with reference to state’s drug menace and politicians responsible for it. Police had refused to allow the event citing “trouble” and a that white Raavan was not part of “tradition”.
At around midnight, according to Congress, more than 100 YAD workers led by Malwa Zone-3 chief Tarsem Singh Bhinder and police, allegedly barged in. In the “attack” the effigies were vandalised and its district chief Gurpreet Gogi and Ludhiana MP Ravneet Singh Bittu were assaulted. “We were guarding our effigies when they attacked,” said Bittu. “They had their faces covered. We recognised Bhinder after we managed to pull his mask off. My security reacted and managed to get hold of Bhinder. I called up commissioner JS Aulakh and told him that Bhinder was with my security in my vehicle and that he should send cops and take him away. For 45 minutes, no one turned up and then we went to CP office and handed him over.”
SAD leaders, however, rubbished those claims. “They beat up nine of my men brutally. Bittu’s security team held me hostage for almost an hour,” said Bhinder. On why he had gone there, Bhinder said, “I went there to see preparations of another Dusshera mela near the venue. We organise it there every year.” SAD Ludhiana chief Madan Lal Bagga accepted that his men had gone to the Congress venue.
“It was a cheap move by the Congress to mix politics and a pious festival. Installing faces of our CM, deputy CM and other ministers in place of Raavan is cheap. Our men went there just to see what mischief Congress was up to. Minister Sharanjit Singh Dhillon also called police to check. Congress workers attacked us,” said Bagga. Both sides also pelted stones and police fired in the air to control situation. An injured Gogi was rushed to Dayanand Medical College and Hospital. The injured SAD workers were admitted at Christian Medical College and hospital.
‘Did not support YAD’
Refuting Congress’ allegations, Ludhiana Police Commissioner J S Aulakh said, “They are lying. Our officers did not support Akali workers in any way. They were there doing their duty and not supporting YAD.”
Police registered two FIRs at Moti Nagar police station on Tuesday. Six Congress men, including Gogi, were booked on the statement of Bhinder under relevant sections of the IPC including attempt to murder, abduction and criminal intimidation, among others. Ravneet Bittu was not booked.
A cross FIR was registered on statement of Gogi against Bhinder, and other YAD leaders under relevant sections, including causing hurt, wrongful restraint and criminal intimidation), among others.