A FEW days after spending two nights in Punjab Assembly hall seeking a debate on no-confidence motion, Congress legislators Thursday launched an ‘indefinite’ dharna outside Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal’s residence to protest against alleged “partisan role of the police” during a Congress-Akali Dal workers’ clash in which their colleagues were injured in Ludhiana on Dussehra day.
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Led by party spokesperson Sunil Jakhar, CLP leader Charanjit Singh Channi and Ludhiana MP Ravneet Singh Bittu, the legislators launched a sit-in protest outside the CM’s residence Thursday morning. Party general secretary and Punjab in-charge Asha Kumari visited the protest in the evening.
The protesters are demanding the immediate transfer of Ludhiana Commissioner of Police Jatinder Singh Aulakh, as well as the suspension of Ludhiana ADCP-4 Jaswinder Singh, for their alleged “partisan role in helping Akalis when they were attacking Congress leaders.”
District Congress Committee (Urban) president Gurpreet Gogi and other party workers were injured in the Dussehra eve attack by Akali Dal workers after an argument over the colour of the Raavan to be set afire.
Badal came out of his residence twice to try and placate the legislators. During his first meeting with the MLAs, Badal told them that he had asked Punjab DGP Suresh Arora to rush to Ludhiana to conduct an inquiry and that action would be taken. However, the Congress leaders did not relent.
Badal also asked his domestic staff to serve tea and water to the agitating MLAs. Channi, whose official house is in the neighbourhood, ordered dinner comprising dal, paneer and chapatis to the agitating colleagues. Mattresses and blankets were organised by Channi.
Channi said, “We told the CM that the attack was led by Akali Dal workers. Yet, shockingly, the police registered a case of attempt to murder against half a dozen Congress leaders and workers including Gogi, who was injured in the attack, while only a minor case of physical scuffle was registered against the Akali assailants.”
Ludhiana MP Ravneet Singh Bittu claimed to Badal that he had also been assaulted during the clash by an Akali leader, but “despite recording the statements of senior Congress leaders, including myself, the accused has not been booked under section 307 (attempt to murder) of IPC.”
As the legislators continued with their protest till the evening, Badal offered to send the ADCP on leave pending an inquiry. The legislators still did not relent.
Among those who joined the protest were Tarlochan Singh Soondh, the MLA who allegedly threw a shoe at Revenue Minister Bikram Singh Majithia in the Assembly, Ajit Inder Singh Mofar, G S Boparai, Kuljit Nagra, Surinder Dawar, Parminder Pinki and Bharat Bhushan Ashu.