January 31, 2021 4:56:21 am
Tension prevailed in the Old City area of Ludhiana Saturday after traders and shopkeepers, raising slogans in support of protesting farmers, did not allow a Tiranga Yatra by the BJP to proceed forcing the saffron party to cancel the programme. The local BJP unit later said that the yatra has been ‘postponed’ following orders from party’s state leadership.
The BJP had planned to take out a ‘Vishal Tiranga Yatra’ to condemn the January 26 violence in Delhi during the farmers’ parade. The yatra was to start from MC Zone A office and move via Meena Bazaar Chowk, Girjaghar Chowk, Kesarganj Mandi Chowk before culminating at Mahatma Gandhi’s statue in Ludhiana.
The BJP workers carrying the Tricolour and led by district president Pushpinder Singal start the yatra while raising slogans such as ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’, ‘Tirange ka apmaan nahi sahega Hindustan’, and ‘Vande Mataram’.
Soon a group led by traders and shopkeepers from Akalgarh market started protesting. The protesters, carrying the national flag, Nishan Sahib and one supporting farmers’ agitation, raised slogans such as ‘Jai Jawan Jai Kisan’, ‘Vyapari Kisan Ekta Zindabad’, ‘Hindu Sikh Ekta Zindabad’. They also blocked the way and did not allow BJP yatra to proceed.
As the situation turned tense, Joint Commissioner of Police, Ludhiana, Deepak Parikh appealed to both sides to remain calm. Parikh managed to persuade BJP leaders to cancel the march in the interest of peace and communal harmony, according to the police.
Singal, however, claimed that the yatra was ‘postponed’ following orders from party’s state leadership.
“We did not raise any provocative slogans. This programme was scheduled by state leadership. We had just started the yatra when the call came from state headquarters to postpone it. It wasn’t cancelled due to opposition by handful of persons. It will be rescheduled soon,” Singal told The Sunday Express.
Meanwhile Manpreet Singh Bunty, who led the protesters from Akalgarh market, said, “BJP announced the cancellation of their yatra after we opposed and raised slogans against their propaganda. They are resorting to all these tactics so as to kill the farmers’ agitation and muzzle their voice. People from all communities live in harmony in Punjab but BJP is trying to create differences. People from all communities are supporting farmers in their agitation.”
Inspector Harjeet Singh, SHO division number 1 police station, said that adequate force was deployed to avert any physical clash between both sides. “We had installed barricades to keep both sides at distance from each other. However, tension was diffused after BJP announced cancellation of its yatra,” said SHO.
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