Four injured; Mob internet services suspended in 4 Punjab districts
Chandigarh/Phagwara: Members of two Hindu groups and a Dalit outfit clashed in Punjab's Phagwara district, injuring four persons, with Chief Minister Amarinder Singh today appealing for peace and ordering suspension of mobile Internet and text services in four districts.
The groups clashed last night, on the eve of Dalit icon Dr B R Ambedkar's birth anniversary, over the installation of a board and renaming of a "chowk" (intersection) in Phagwara, police said.
The chief minister, who is personally monitoring the situation after the incident, has ordered suspension of mobile Internet services in Kapurthala, Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur and SBS Nagar districts to check rumour-mongering on social media, according to an official release.
The services were suspended with immediate effect for 24 hours, an order issued by Secretary, Home Affairs, Punjab, said.
"There is a likelihood of tension, annoyance, obstruction, injury to persons, danger to human life and property, disturbance of public peace and tranquillity in Punjab by miscreants, anti-national and anti-social elements in view of the rapidly deteriorating law and order situation in Kapurthala, Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur and SBS Nagar after the clash," it said.
"The order of suspension of mobile internet services (2G/3G/4G/CDMA), all SMS and all dongle services provided by mobile networks, except voice calls shall be in force for the next 24 hours with immediate effect," the order said.
The chief minister also directed the police to maintain tight vigil and crackdown on disruptive elements to ensure that the situation does not escalate, the release said.
He has also asked the police to thoroughly investigate the clash between some Dalit workers and "so-called Hindu organisations".
The clashes were between "Hindu workers (Shiv Sena Bal Thakeray and Hindu Suraksha Samiti) and Dalit workers (Ambedkar Sena) in Phagwara (Kapurthala district)", the order said.
Several vehicles were damaged during the clashes as members of both the groups threw stones at each other, police said.
The incident took place when members of a group allegedly installed a board carrying a picture of Ambedkar at Gol Chowk here on National Highway (NH)-1. They also tried to rename it Savidhan Chowk, they said.
However, members of another group objected to it and that led to a clash between them, police said.
The police said around 150 people, including 32 by name, were booked under relevant section of the IPC, including attempt to murder, and provisions of the Arms Act and National Highways Act.
Jimmy, the son of Inderjit Karwal, vice president Shiv Sena Bal Thackeray, were among those who were injured. Punjab Shiv Sena vice president Rajesh Palta was also allegedly thrashed by members of the opposite group, they said.
Some shots were also fired during the clash, police said.