Protesters belonging to radical Sikh groups on Sunday waylaid a bus carrying SAD supporters and smashed windows of an Akali sarpanch’s car on their way to the venue of a SAD rally in Faridkot to oppose the event.
At the rally, former CM Parkash Singh Badal claimed that police had foiled an attempt to eliminate him and SAD chief Sukhbir Badal by nabbing a man with a gun. He asked the police to tell the media about the suspect taken into custody by them. “In the fight to maintain communal harmony, sacrifices have to be made. Sukhbir and I are ready to make such sacrifices,” he said.
IG (Bathinda Range) M S Chhina, however, denied that any person was held with a gun. “Had the police arrested anyone, we would have disclosed this. But no one carrying a pistol has been held,” Chhina said.
Earlier, a group of protesters led by United Akali Dal leader Gurdeep Singh Bathinda and Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) leader Jaskaran Singh Kahansinghwala reached on the outskirts of Faridkot town from Kotkapura side, crossing at least three barricades set up by the police.
They were stopped at old Faridkot bypass road from Kotkapura side for over two hours till they finally managed to make their way inside Faridkot town limit to demand “release of few of the activists held by police earlier in the day”.
By the time the rally was drawing to a close, a number of protesters brandishing swords and baseball bats reached close to the rally venue, but were held off due to heavy police deployment.
IG Chhina said, “They were carrying swords.” He added that there was a “very thin” line between police action and restraint and police had to act cautiously.
Around 500 metre from the venue, a car being driven by Manjinder Singh, Sarpanch of Mughal Chak village in Tarn Taran district, was attacked when he was on his way back from the rally. “These Sarbat Khalsa people, about 40 to 50 in numbers… first removed the ‘Sarpanch’ plate in front of the car and when I stepped out, they started asking me as to why had I come for a rally of the Badals who were blamed for sacrilege. I told them that there was nothing that put the blame on Badals for sacrilege. They then started smashing the car with swords,” he said.