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Thursday, March 04, 2021

Cong-SAD members clash: 4 injured, ‘shots fired’; Sukhbir car attacked

Violence breaks out during filing of nominations for local polls. The two groups first engaged in a verbal spat, and the Congress workers allegedly gathered around Badal's vehicle later to oppose him, triggering a clash during which the two groups pelted stones at each other, police said.

Written by Raakhi Jagga | Ludhiana |
Updated: February 3, 2021 7:49:54 am
Cong-SAD members clash: 4 injured, ‘shots fired’; Sukhbir car attackedBoth sides allegedly opened fire in the parking area of the Fazilka tehsil complex. (Express Photo)

Shiromani Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Badal’s car was damaged and four persons were injured during a clash between Congress and SAD workers in the Tehsil Complex of Fazilka’s Jalalabad Assembly constituency Tuesday morning. Both sides allegedly opened fire in the parking area of the complex, while Sukhbir’s car was attacked with bricks and stones. The SAD president, who has ‘Z-Plus’ security cover, escaped unhurt.

Police registered two FIRs based on complaints filed by both sides. The FIR filed on SAD’s complaint was against 50-60 unidentified persons, while the one filed on the Congress’s complaint named three SAD leaders along with five-six unidentified men. After the first FIR was filed on the SAD’s complaint, the party lifted its dharna demanding police action against the culprits from Shaheed Udham Singh Nagar of Jalalabad.

Earlier in the day, Akali Dal chief and Ferozepur MP Badal and his supporters had reached Jalalabad administrative complex to file nomination forms of their party candidates for the municipal polls. In the meantime, Congressmen accompanied by Jalalabad party MLA Raminder Awla and his son Jatin Awla, also reached there to file nomination papers of their party men, SAD workers claimed. The clash took place around 11.30 am.

The two groups first engaged in a verbal spat, and the Congress workers allegedly gathered around Badal’s vehicle later to oppose him, triggering a clash during which the two groups pelted stones at each other, police said.

According to police, there were some gunshots but it was yet to be ascertained who fired them. Police lathicharged the mob to disperse it.

The SAD president alleged that Jatin Awla, son of Congress MLA Raminder Awla, first fired in the air and the MLA hired goons to attack SAD workers.

While staging a sit-in to demand action against the guilty, Badal said, “We will not lift dharna till the time FIR with attempt to murder charges is not lodged against Jatin Awla and Congress MLA Raminder Singh Awla.”

A video of the incident that is being widely shared on the social media shows stones being pelted on the vehicle of the SAD president while he is sitting inside the car. Workers of both parties can be seen running, and gunshots heard in the background.

While police said four had been injured, two each from both sides, SAD said that three of its workers had been hurt in the clash. Sukhbir alleged, “Congress MLA was trying to dominate in this election and harassing our workers. I had got to know about this incident Monday because of to which I came from Delhi to be with workers of my area.”

MLA Raminder Singh Awla said, “Sukhbir Badal himself brought goons along to create terror in the area… He has raised allegations against my son Jatin as well that he opened fire. However, I challenge them to show even a single photo in which my son is holding any weapon… Videos will show the entire story. Our workers were also in the complex to get their nominations filed in a peaceful manner.”

Polls are scheduled to be held in 118 local bodies of Punjab, including 8 municipal corporations on February 14. Wednesday is the last day of filing nomination papers.

Harjit Singh, SSP, Fazilka said, “Four persons (two each from both sides) have been injured and we will further investigate this case.”

In a statement, SAD spokesman Daljit Singh Cheema said, “It seems there was a premeditated attempt on the SAD president’s life and the Jalalabad police was complicit in this crime as it allowed attackers a free run.”

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