Tension prevailed in Phagwara in Punjab’s Kapurthala district on Friday night following a violent clash between members of two communities, resulting in injuries to three persons, police said. The official vehicle of an assistant superintendent of police (ASP) and a Punjab roadways bus were also damaged in the clashes. Heavy police force was deployed near the Gol Chowk on NH-1, where the clash took place.
As per the police, a group of Dalit youths, moving in Khalwara gate side, attacked Rahul Karwal, the nephew of jailed Shiv Sena leader Inderjit Karwal. Inderjit’s shop is located in the area. Soon after the attack, Rahul’s friends and local shopkeepers gathered and and attacked the other group resulting in a clash. Eyewitnesses said that both sides indulged in brickbatting. Two Dalit youths sustained injuries. Rahul too was admitted to a hospital.
Later, members of Dalit community, led by large number of women, sat on dharna in front of Phagwara city police station and even damaged the vehicle of ASP Sandip Malik who had reached there to talk to the protesters. They also attacked Punjab roadways bus at Gol Chowk. .
The clash had its genesis in another clash last year on April 14, on the eve of Dr BR Ambedkar’s birth anniversary when some Dalit outfits had made an attempt to rename the Gol Chowk as “Samvidhan chowk”. At that time, some Dalit activists and those from some right wing organisations, including the Shiv Sena, cl;ashed with each other. A Dalit youth had received a bullet injury during the clash and later died two weeks later.
Following this, Phagwara remained on tenterhooks for about a month amid clashes between the two communities. Since then four Shiv Sena leaders have been sent to for opening fire during the clashes.
The ASP said that the situation is now under control. No case was registered till the filing of this report.