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Cops fire shots in air as demolition drive goes awry

An anti-encroachment drive undertaken to demolish an alleged illegal construction adjoining the Sector-38 (West) Gurdwara turned ugly on Friday.

Written by Express News Service | Chandigarh |
January 31, 2009 12:20:30 am

An anti-encroachment drive undertaken to demolish an alleged illegal construction adjoining the Sector-38 (West) Gurdwara turned ugly on Friday. The illegal structure was a house in which the chairman of the gurdwara management,Suroop Singh,stays with family and a few sewadars.

As the demolition team,accompanied by police force,reached the site,the supporters of Suroop Singh attacked them. Additional deputy Commissioner (ADC) I S Sandhu and four others were injured as the protestors hurled stones at them. The police had to resort to firing shots in the air to control the agitating mob. The drive was stopped after negotiations with the gurdwara management.

Nearly 200 supporters of Suroop Singh assembled on the first floor and the terrace of the house and shouted slogans against the Chandigarh Administration. They claimed that there was nothing illegal about the building. As soon as officials from the MC and Estate Office reached the gurdwara around 3.30 pm to start the drive,the infuriated mob attacked them.

The protest turned murkier when the officials pushed the gate of the illegal construction for forceful entry.

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The police fired several rounds of shots in the air when the ADC received a severe injury near his right eye. He was rushed to the Sector-16 hospital. His gunman Jagannath,Constable Balwant Singh,Sub-Inspector Ram Rattan and a labourer are among the others injured in the attack. The labourer’s condition is stated to be serious as he has received injuries in his head.

There was a slight calm after the firing when senior police officers and SDM (South) Prerna Puri,along with other officials,went inside to negotiate with the chairman.

The supporters of Suroop Singh said they received a notice from the Administration about the drive only yesterday. Suroop Singh said the police acted in haste by firing the shots. The supporters were also angry with the police team and said the officers hurt their religious sentiments by entering the gurdwara with their shoes on.

“No one came when the construction was on. When the house stands tall suddenly the officials have woken up. The construction is not illegal,we have a registry to prove it,” said Suroop Singh.

He sought time from the Administration,saying his son’s wedding had been fixed for February 8. It was agreed that the management would sort out the matter on its own after the wedding.

As many as seven people were arrested for attempt to murder under Section 307 and in a case of rioting in the Sector-39 police station.

“They demanded time from us and have signed an agreement. The situation is absolutely under control and we have registered a case,” said Senior Superintendent of Police S S Srivastava.

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