Friday, June 2, 2023

Protesters seeking release of Sikh prisoners clash with police in C’garh

Around 30 cops were injured and several vehicles damaged as protesters seeking the release of Sikh prisoners countrywide clashed with them while trying to reach Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann’s official residence in neighbouring Chandigarh on Wednesday, officials said.
Police had put up barricades near the Chandigarh-Mohali border to prevent the protesters from moving towards Mann’s residence. When the protesters tried to force their way through the barricades, the Chandigarh Police used a water cannon to disperse them.
The protesters under the banner of the ‘Qaumi Insaaf Morcha’ then attacked the police personnel and damaged a water cannon vehicle, a “vajra” (riot control vehicle), two police jeeps, a fire-fighting vehicle and some other vehicles with swords and sticks, the officials said.
They said around 25-30 personnel, including from the Rapid Action Force, sustained injuries in the attack.
Director General of Police of Chandigarh Praveer Ranjan said an FIR will be lodged against those involved in the incident.
The protesters wanted to go to the chief minister’s residence to press for their demands, including the release of Sikh prisoners who they claim are lodged in different prisons across the country despite having completed their sentences.
People from various parts of Punjab have been staging a protest at the YPS Chowk near the Chandigarh-Mohali border since January 7.
Later, more protesters carrying swords and sticks gathered at the site of the protest including some Nihangs who turned violent and thrashed some of the police personnel.
The policemen were chased by the protesters, one of whom was carrying a tear gas gun, apparently left behind by a policeman.
The protesters used a tractor to remove the barricades, police said.
DGP Ranjan said as section 144 of the CrPC was imposed in Chandigarh, police did not allow the protesters to hold any protest in the city.
Without any provocations from police, a group of protesters turned violent and tried to jump barricades, he said.
The official said several protesters, including Nihangs on horses, were carrying dangerous weapons, including swords, iron rods and sticks.
When police tried to stop them, they attacked the cops with swords, said the DGP.
Several cops even fell down and sustained serious injuries, he said, adding that they have been hospitalised.

Meanwhile, Qaumi Insaaf Morcha leader Gurcharan Singh said several people were injured after Chandigarh Police used the water cannon and resorted to cane charge against the protesters.
Singh asked the use of force by police against peaceful protesters. He also accused the administration of trying to “fail” the morcha.
The protesters are seeking justice in the 2015 sacrilege and police-firing incidents in Faridkot.
For the last two days, they have been trying to go to Chandigarh but were detained by police.
Nihangs, members of several Sikh bodies and others are supporting the demands of the morcha.
The protesters have also been seeking the release of Sikh prisoners, including Balwant Singh Rajoana, a convict in former Punjab chief minister Beant Singh’s assassination.
They also want the release of Devinderpal Singh Bhullar, a 1993 Delhi bomb blast convict.


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