Several people sustained injuries as workers of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and Congress got into a clash during a TV debate organised by a local channel channel at Rampura Phul stadium in Punjab’s Bathinda district on Wednesday.
Confirming the clash, Bikramjeet Singh, SHO, Rampura Phul, said, “We have got complaints from both sides and are investigating the matter.”
Workers of each party blamed the other for instigating the clash — while Congress alleged that SAD members came in huge numbers for the programme and got aggressive, SAD local leaders said Congress workers attacked them first.
Congress MLA Gurpreet Singh Kangar has been renominated from Rampura Phul. His contenders are SAD’s Sikander Singh Maluka, AAP’s Balkar Singh Sidhu and Dr Amarjeet Sharma of Punjab Lok Congress.
Congress worker Khushbaz Singh Mehraj, one of those injured, said the channel had asked for a maximum of 15 people from each party to attend the event, where the candidates were not present. “For SAD, over 300 people came. During the debate, Akali supporters became violent and attacked us,” he alleged. “Their former Council president of Mehraj Nagar, Harinder Hinda, and his brother Maninder Minda attacked me with rods and bricks; I received five stitches on forehead.”
Denying this, Gurpreet Singh Maluka, the SAD candidate’s son, said as people were leaving after the debate, “Congressmen attacked our people and damaged one of our vehicles”. He said, “One of our workers was left severely injured. Many others received minor injuries.”
By late Wednesday evening, on the complaint of Mehraj, Rampura Phul police booked SAD leaders Harinder Singh Hinda, his brother Maninder Singh Mindi and Nirmal Singh Mehraj with charges of culpable homicide not amounting to murder, voluntarily causing hurt, rioting, armed with deadly weapons and unlawful assembly guilty of offence. FIR has been lodged under IPC 308, 323, 148 and 149, confirmed police authorities from Rampura Phul police station. However, no arrests have taken place till now.