Phagwara limps back to normalcy

Additional forces arrive in town to bolster security; peace committee to keep watch

Ashok Kaura

Phagwara, February 10

As many as 300 jawans of the Commando Force and 140 jawans of the Armed Reserve Police arrived at Phagwara on Sunday to replace the additional force of 300 called from Jalandhar, Nawanshahr and Hoshiarpur districts. Senior Superintendent of Police Satinder Singh confirmed this here this evening.

The SSP held a meeting with the Superintendent of Police, Phagwara, Mandeep Singh and ASP Sandeep Malik to review the law and order situation in the town on Sunday.

With the efforts of Deputy Commissioner, Kapurthala, Mohammad Tayab and SSP Satinder Singh, normalcy returned on Sunday but the administration did not want to take any chances and took all preventive measures for Monday which will be the second working day after the tension. ASP Malik said special nakas are being set up at sensitive places and patrolling on foot is being carried out in the sensitive town to maintain peace.

SSP Satinder Singh said a 14-member Saanjha Phagwara Parivar Committee, comprising seven members from each community, would work to maintain peace and harmony in the town and solve any problem that arises amicably.

The SSP said the members of the committee will be Ashok Sethi, Naresh Bhardwaj, Avtar Singh Mand, Ramesh Sachdeva, Sanju Chahal, Pardeep Ahuja, Rakesh Duggal (seven from the General category) and Raj Paul Ghai, Krishan Kumar Heero, Tulsi Ram Khosla, Dharam Veer Sethi, Raj Kumar Bhatti, Satish Salhotra and Roshan Lal Sethi (seven from Dalit organisations). The SSP clarified that no other person has been included in the Saanjha Phagwara Parivar Committee. Phagwara SP Mandeep Singh, ASP Sandeep Malik and DSP Manpreet Dhillon were monitoring the situation.

Notable, the clash had taken place between the youths of the Valmiki community and supporters of Shiv Sena activists at Baba Gadhia locality here late on Friday evening.

Three youths, including Rahul Karwal, nephew of Shiv Sena leader Inderjit Karwal, and two Dalit youths, Nitin Kumar and Punit Kumar, sustained injuries. They were admitted to the Civil Hospital, but have now been shifted to a private hospital.

The Dalit youths alleged that the Sena activists first attacked two Valmikis, while the former claimed that Rahul’s shop was vandalised first.

Later, during a protest near the city police station, Dalit youths pelted the DSP’s Bolero vehicle with stones. A signboard of the police station was also damaged. The dharna was lifted after the intervention of senior police officers.

SSP Satinder Singh said on a complaint filed by Valmiki youth Nitin Kumar, they had registered a case against 12 persons, including Rahul Karwal and Akshya Karwal, on the charge of attempt to murder and damaging a motorcycle.

The SSP said in a counter-complaint, lodged by constable Sony Khan, they had registered a case against 80 Valmiki youths for damaging the DSP’s vehicle and a roadways bus, tearing the uniform of cops, and blocking the Phagwara-Banga road.

Meanwhile, former minister Joginder Singh Maan, District Congress Committee president Balbir Rani Sodhi, Phagwara MLA Som Parkash and Mayor Arun Khosla, besides the representatives of several political, social and religious organisations appealed to the people to maintain peace and communal harmony in the town.

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