One arrested for Friday carnage; irate Bhankerpur villagers threaten to intensify protests
Tension prevailed in Bhankerpur village near Dera Bassi a day after a youth died in a road accident on the Chandigarh-Delhi National Highway-22. The incident had led to massive protests by hundreds of villagers who had torched the bus under which the 22-year-old was killed.
On Saturday,while the police arrested a villager in connection with the Friday protests,another villager sustained serious injuries in an accident on the same spot. Ram,in his early 40s,was admitted to GMCH-32 in Chandigarh in a critical condition after an unknown car hit him while he was crossing the expressway. There were no witnesses to the accident and the car driver fled the spot after the incident.
The local police registered two separate cases against the villagers on Saturday for burning the bus and blocking traffic on the busy expressway for over an hour.
While the unidentified driver of a Punjab Roadways Volvo bus,on its way from Chandigarh to Delhi,was booked under Sections 279 and 304-A of the IPC,a group of unknown residents of Bhankerpur village,were booked under Sections 186,353,283,336,436,427,148 and 149 of the IPC for rioting and damage to public property.
The bus driver had not been caught till the filing of the report. The police,however,picked up five village youth last night,four of whom were released on Saturday morning. Jatinder Singh alias Romi,19,was formally arrested.
The arrest sparked widespread resentment among the villagers,who met Dera Bassi Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) later to seek his release. Either release Romi or arrest us all, Karam Singh,the father of Fridays accident victim,told SDM Punnet Goyal. They threatened to block traffic on the expressway again and damage to the public property notwithstanding the consequences whatsoever arises thereof.
Police later produced Romi before a local court,which remanded him in 14-day judicial custody. The villagers later sought help of area MLA and senior Punjab Minister Capt Kanwaljit Singh but could not meet him. We will wait to meet him and if nothing substantial comes out of it,we will hold a massive agitation, a villager said.