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Thursday, April 15, 2021

Punjab: Muktsar police arrest 4, book 27 in BJP MLA assault case

Jagjit Singh Dallewal president of BKU Sidhupur, whose officer-bearers were booked in connection with the assault on Narang, on Sunday said the Centre was responsible for the incident.

Written by Raakhi Jagga | Ludhiana |
Updated: March 29, 2021 6:59:46 am
Punjab: Muktsar police arrest 4, book 27 in BJP MLA assault casePunjab BJP leaders protesting outside Punjab CM's official residence (the protest comes in wake of farmers thrashing BJP MLA Arun Narang at Malout on Sunday. (Express Photo)

Muktsar Police on Sunday arrested four persons and booked 23 others in connection with the assault on BJP MLA from Abohar Arun Narang in Malout town the previous day.

Muktsar Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) D Sudarvizhi said that with the help of video footage, they have booked 27 persons in the case. Surjit Singh, Nem Pal Singh and Baldev Singh, all residents of Bodhiwala village, and Gurmeet Singh from Khunan Kalan, have been arrested.

The SSP said that following the attack by protesting farmers on MLA Arun Narang, the Muktsar police registered an FIR on Saturday and booked three persons — Lakhanpal Sharma of Alamwala, Nirmal Singh Jasseana and Avtar Singh Fakarsar. MLA Arun Narang, who was in Malout in connection with a press conference, was gheraoed and assaulted by the agitating farmers. “Many are yet to be identified, hence this is not the final list of accused persons,” she said.

The SSP said that the police party — including Muktsar Sahib SP (Hqrs), Malout DSP, two SHOs, Quick Reaction Team, which was trying to protect the BJP MLA ever since he arrived at his party office venue at Malout, and was trying to ensure a safe evacuation for him — was also attacked by the mob of protesters. SP Gurmail Singh, Constable Ranjit Singh and Constable Harmanpreet Singh suffered injuries and were undergoing treatment at Civil Hospital, Malout.

“The police are conducting raids and the other accused persons involved in the attack will be arrested soon,” the SSP said.

Centre responsible, says Dallewal

Jagjit Singh Dallewal president of BKU Sidhupur, whose officer-bearers were booked in connection with the assault on Narang, on Sunday said the Centre was responsible for the incident.

Dallewal, who had reached Muktsar, where the incident took place, late Saturday night and is camping there, said, “This incident should not have happened as we always appeal to farmers to protest in a peaceful manner. However, the government is testing the patience of farmers by issuing inciting statements against protests, due to which Saturday’s incident happened. In other words, I can say that it was deep anger against BJP which burst on Saturday and there was no personal target. Our office-bearers Sukhdev Singh Burabujjar and Nirmal Singh Jasseana, president and general secretary of BKU Sidhupur’s Muktsar unit, had repeatedly appealed to farmers to stay calm and also protest in a peaceful manner, but sometimes protests go out of control because of anger against BJP.”

Farmer unions did not organise any protest dharna on Sunday anywhere in the state over the issue though they burnt copies of three farm laws as part of Holika Dahan. The BJP leadership burnt effigies of the state government at the district level and also organised a mega protest outside Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh’s residence in Chandigarh as well.

Earlier in the day, before the arrests were made, Dallewal said, “I am aware that Sukhdev, Nirmal along with five others, have been booked under attempt to murder and other charges. Apart from this, 250-300 unidentified persons have also been booked. However, we stand like a rock with each and every farmer and will object strongly if even a single arrest happens.” However, after four were arrested Sunday evening, the farmers didn’t reveal any plan of further protests.

Dr Darshan Pal, coordinator of Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) and president of Krantikari Kisan Union (Punjab), said, “Violent ways of protest are not encouraged but the Centre is responsible for it and the entire anger is coming out on local leadership. We will object strongly if any arrest happens, we are with each and every farmer as they went to protest against BJP leaders on the call of SKM. However, that incident went out of control. We will appeal to farmers to maintain peace and discipline, we can make these leaders
move back even with peaceful protests. Our social boycott of BJP leaders continues as usual.”

Asked which inciting statements were made by BJP leaders, Dallewal said, “BJP leader Harjeet Grewal off and on speaks against farmers and farmer unions. Recently, he even stated that SGPC should not help farmers at protest sites by providing them fans and also by setting temporary sheds. We are called Naxalites, Khalistanis and terrorists. Farmers who have died during morcha are our martyrs. BJP leaders even issue wrong statements about them and what not.”

On BJP’s claim that they were not allowed to organise a press conference, Dallewal said, “Does BJP allow farmer leaders to organise press conferences? Our leaders were arrested in Ahmedabad two days ago while they were conducting a press conference. Farmers face lathicharge in many BJP-ruled states when they protest against farm laws and a number of them are often troubled by police. The list of wrongdoings by BJP is very long, which is spilling anger among the masses and it is high time that the Union government realised the genuine demands of farmers. We have been sitting at Delhi borders for the past four months. Is the government bothered?”

He added, “Rather than issuing statements against farmers, state leadership should stand with the farmers of this state. This is why we elect them and send them to Vidhan Sabha or Lok Sabha. If they have to stand with their high command, why do they come to the masses to seek votes?”

Meanwhile, SKM said they will issue fresh instructions to all leaders to maintain peace and continue the agitation.

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