Tension gripped Phagwara city on the eve of Dr B R Ambedkar’s birth anniversary following an attempt by Dalit activists to rename ‘Gol Chowk’ (paper square) to ‘Samvidhan chowk’ (Constitution square). Dalist and members of right wing organisations confronted each other at around midnight; some shots were fired as well.
Deputy Commissioner Mohammad Tayyab and SSP (Kapurthla) Sandeep Sharma rushed to the spot, which is located on NH-1, around midnight. Posters and signboards had been put up to inaugurate the chowk on Ambedkar Jayanti. The police confirmed that the situation was brought under control. However, according to police sources, stringent steps will be taken if required.
The renaming of the chowk was to commemorate Ambedkar, who is remembered as the ‘Architect of the Indian Constitution’.
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Following the Supreme Court’s order regarding the SC/ST Act, Dalits have become more assertive in the Doaba region, particularly where their population is above 40 per cent.