A day after the police booked leaders of both Congress and Youth Akali Dal (YAD) in two separate FIRs, YAD leader and president of Malwa Zone-3 Tarsem Singh Bhinder, in his statement to the police, claimed he along with his friends went to the GLADA ground Monday to “enjoy the Dussehra fair”. “When we were returning, Congress workers gheraoed and attacked us,” Bhinder alleged.
He further claimed that he was thrown outside the Pavilion Mall by MP Ravneet Singh Bittu and his security team. Refuting the charges, Bittu said, “There cannot be anything worse than this. I personally handed over Bhinder to the police and submitted a written complaint immediately. And FIR says we threw him on road. They are not even accepting what happened on record.”
On Monday late, a violent clash ensued between Congress and SAD workers after YAD workers led by Bhinder allegedly stormed into a venue where Congress MP Ravneet Singh Bittu, district president Gurpreet Gogi, MLA Bharat Bhushan Ashu and others were ‘guarding’ the ‘chhitta’ Raavan effigies created as a symbol to protest against the drug menace.
While six Congressmen have been booked under attempt to murder, abduction and hurting religious sentiments sections, the police also booked SAD workers for causing hurt, criminal intimidation and wrongful restraint.
However, the statements of two senior leaders within the Akali Dal is contradicting. Speaking to The Indian Express, Ranjit Singh Dhillon, Ludhiana East MLA, accepted that SAD workers went there to ‘convince’ Congress not to hold any fair.
“Our workers went there to convince Congress not to involve politics in a festival. We wanted to convince them not to use photos of the Chief Minister and deputy CM on the effigies they had created. We want to solve it through talks but they launched an attack on us,” Dhillon said.
Similarly, SAD Ludhiana president Madan Lal Bagga also clarified that the workers went to venue of the Congress and not any random fair.
“Congress did the cheapest thing by getting politics into a pious festival. Installing faces of the CM, deputy CM and other ministers in place of Raavan is very cheap. Our workers went there just to see what mischief Congress was up to. Our minister Sharanjit Singh Dhillon also called the police to check on this. But their workers attacked our workers,” he said.
When asked about his statement contradicting with that of party’s senior leaders, Bhinder clarified, “We went there to enjoy the fair but on our way back we saw Congress’ effigies. We got the information that they are up to something wrong. We just went to their venue to have a look and they started thrashing us.”
Sources in SAD however said that it is also the internal bickering within the party that messed up entire plan.
“MLA Dhillon had decided that he would visit the venue on Dusshera and ask Congress to drop its plan. He wanted to do it peacefully. However, Bhinder who is a ticket aspirant from Ludhiana east decided to score some brownie points and barged the venue Monday night itself. Before MLA would have done anything, he went there and attacked his supporters. His plan backfired,” said a source from SAD.