July 22, 2016 | By I P Singh (Times of India)
Phagwara: The tension which has been simmering since Wednesday, after local Shiv Sena activists targeted some shops of Kashmiris and protested outside a mosque, turned into a clash on Friday near the mosque between Shiv Sena activists on one side and Muslims, Sikhs and Dalits on the other. According to the case registered by the police against eight identified Shiv Sena leaders and 40-50 unidentified persons, the clash took place after they pelted stones on mosque, abused Muslims, attacked them and their shops.
It is learnt that the situation turned from bad to worse even as there were intelligence inputs which apprehended a clash. Local police officials had managed to avert the clash once when they succeeded in persuading in Shiv Sena activists to move away from the mosque where Muslims had gathered for weekly prayers but these activists again came near the mosque after sometime and challenged the Muslims and started the brick batting after which Muslims also retaliated.
Muslims had earlier announced that they would take a procession to SDM’s office on Friday to submit a memorandum. However, Phagwara SP Ajinder Singh reached the mosque and urged the Muslims not to take out any procession to which they agreed. In the meantime, the Shiv Sena activists had come near the mosque and burnt a Pakistani flag. After this, the weekly prayers were held in the mosque and Sena activists took out a procession in the town.
However, after this march, they again came near the mosque and police officials including SP and DSP K P S Chahal pleaded with them not to proceed further to the mosque. Still, they forced ahead and brick batting started between the two sides. A standoff persisted between two sides but Sena activists did not budge and pushed aside the police officials to make their way ahead. In the meantime, local Sikh and Dalit activists including Adi-dharmis and Valmikis came to support the Muslims.
Then, they chased away the Sena activists who entered a temple and a neighbouring building from where they started pelting brickbats from the rooftops of a neighbouring building which hit the cops also. In the melee City SHO Raman Kumar’s badge was also pulled down. The Muslim, Sikh and dalit activists also retaliated with brickbats during which glass shield of an idol on temple gate was damaged. Police had tough time controlling the situation and then resorted to cane-charging to control the situation as reinforcements had also arrived.
Senior police officials including Jalandhar Zone IG Lok Nath Angra, DIG Rajinder Singh and Kapurthala SSP Rajinder Singh reached the spot and managed the situation. Punjab Congress secretary Jarnail Nangal who also reached the spot to support the Muslims, Sikhs and Dalits told the IG that Shiv Sena was out to foment communal trouble by targeting minority community but they were not controlled in time which led the situation to a clash. “What business did they have to come towards the mosque even as they were stopped by the police but they pushed cops aside for attacking mosque,” he alleged.
Later, on the complaint of a mosque Imam Avaim Ur Rehman, police booked Shiv Sena leader Inderjit Karwal, Gurdeep Saini, Kuldeep Dani, Jimmy Karwal,Hindu Suraksha Samiti president Deepak Bhardwaj among eight identified persons under section 307, 295A, 148, 149, 427 of IPC and section 25 of Arms Act as one of them carried a pistol also.
After that, Shiv Sena and their supporters gathered in local Hanuman Garhi temple on GT Road and gave a call for Phagwara bandh on Saturday while Muslims, Sikhs and Dalit activists held a meeting at the mosque and announced that they would collectively confront any communal attack.
Source: Times of India
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