Updated: February 11, 2021 10:11:46 am
Two persons were killed and two others were injured in a clash between Congress and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) workers campaigning for civic polls in ward no. 9 of Punjab’s Moga district late Tuesday, police said.
The deceased were identified as Harminder Singh Babbu (50) and Jagdeep Singh Bhola (60). While the SAD claimed that they were supporters of their party, Congress claimed Bhola was from their party.
An FIR was registered on the basis of a complaint filed by Gurtej Singh, husband of SAD candidate Kulwinder Kaur from ward no. 9 of Moga, against seven Congress men including Narinderpal Singh Sidhu, husband of rival Congress candidate Paramjit Kaur Sidhu, Jasmail Singh alias Nikku, Jaslovepreet Singh Sidhu, Lally, Pamma, Happy, TT Sharma, and three unidentified persons under sections 302 (murder), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 188 (disobedience to the order duly promulgated by public servant) and 120-B (conspiracy) of IPC at Moga city-1 police station.
According to the FIR, a clash broke out between workers of both parties on Dosanj Road late Tuesday, during which a group of Congress workers led by the local candidate and her husband allegedly ran over the SAD candidate’s husband and their supporters with their SUVs, leaving two from the Akali Dal dead, and two others injured. It further said that the violence broke out after Congress workers allegedly started hooting and passing remarks when SAD was campaigning for the upcoming municipal corporation (MC) polls in the area.
According to complainant Gurtej Singh, he alongwith his supporters was campaigning for his wife on Dosanjh Road when Narinderpal Singh Sidhu and wife’s supporters arrived at the spot in their Pajero SUV. The Pajero was allegedly being driven by Narinderpal. He further alleged that two more vehicles — an SUV Bolero being driven by Congress worker Jaslovepreet Singh Sidhu and a black Scorpio being driven by an unidentified Congress worker — also reached the spot and started pressing their car horns continuously. As per the FIR, the vehicles were allegedly being driven rashly and Congress workers started passing remarks such as ‘Saadi sarkaar hai, assi jitna jaande han… (It is our government, we know how to win)’.
According to Gurtej, the Congress workers’ cars suddenly charged towards him and other SAD supporters. While he and one Malkit Singh moved back just in time, Harminder Singh Babbu was hit and died on the spot, while Jagdeep Singh Bhola, also Gurtej’s relative, died while undergoing treatment at Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) Ludhiana.
Inspector Jaswant Singh, SHO, Moga city-1 police station, said Narinderpal Singh Sidhu, Jasmail Singh alias Nikku and Pamma have been arrested while a search is on for the others. He added that the problem started after both parties came face to face and indulged in a heated argument. Soon after, a cavalcade of vehicles allegedly led by the husband of the Congress candidate moved towards the SAD group and mowed them down.
Sources however said that there were allegations and counter allegations of liquor distribution from both sides.
Senior SAD leader Tota Singh, who led the party delegation that met Moga SSP Harmanbir Singh Gill after the incident on Wednesday, said it was not a clash but “one-sided violence spearheaded by Congress candidate’s husband”.
“There was no provocation or any comment from our side. Congress workers passed objectionable comments on our women campaigners…On Tuesday evening again, Congress workers led by their candidate’s husband reached where our candidate was campaigning and started creating trouble. Two of our men died as they were old and could not move back swiftly when speeding vehicles mowed them down. Two others got injured and many others saved themselves jumping backwards. This was pure hooliganism and we demand immediate arrest of all accused who are still roaming free and threatening SAD candidates,” said Tota Singh to The Indian Express.
Meanwhile, in a statement, Congress’ Moga MLA Harjot Kamal said that the incident was “sad and unfortunate”. “Congress party has no association with the violence that took place in ward no. 9 because we are a peace loving party. Moga MC polls will be held peacefully and in a fair and unbiased manner. All our candidates have already been instructed to maintain complete discipline and not to cross their limits in any manner. It is extremely saddening that two persons lost their lives. Whatever happened last night was an accident and Congress condemns it. FIR has been registered and three persons have been arrested by police.”
The MLA further claimed that one of the deceased, Jagdeep Singh Bhola, was a Congress man and former sarpanch, while SAD claimed that he had left Congress long ago and was now a SAD supporter.
The civic polls are scheduled to be held on Sunday (February 14).
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