Congress leaders spend night outside Badal’s residence

Congress leaders spend night outside Badal’s residence

Chandigarh, Oct 14 (IANS) Leaders of the opposition Congress party spent the entire night protesting at the gate of Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal’s official residence here. The protest by the party leaders continued on Friday.

The high-security upscale area in Sector 2 where Badal resides was partially blocked owing to the ongoing protest.

The protesters increased as families of war martyrs and home guard personnel killed on duty, also joined in outside the Chief Minister’s residence on Friday.

Although the area is a strictly a no-protest zone with Section 144 CrPC imposed at all times that bans the assembly of five or more people, yet the agitating crowd continued to increase.

Led by Ludhiana MP Ravneet Singh Bittu, senior Congress leader Sunil Jakhar and leader of opposition in Punjab Assembly Charanjit Singh Channi, the Congress leaders started their protest on Thursday noon and continued it throughout the night.

They are demanding action against senior police officers in Ludhiana who failed to avert the clash on Monday and later booked Congress leaders. They accused the Punjab Police of high-handedness.

Badal, who came out of his residence on Thursday evening, had ordered Director General of Police Suresh Arora to probe the violent clash between activists of the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal youth wing and the opposition Congress on Dussehra eve in Ludhiana.

Following directions from Badal, the DGP left for Ludhiana for an on-the-spot inquiry into Monday evening’s incident.

“I have asked the DGP to personally probe the incident and submit a report within three days,” Badal had told the media here.

Congress leaders in Ludhiana had put up an effigy of a “chitta” (colloquial term for drugs in Punjab) Ravana during Dussehra celebrations to highlight the state government’s alleged failure to curb the drug menace in Punjab.

The clash left a few Congress leaders, including the Ludhiana-urban unit president Gurpreet Gogi, injured. Vehicles of Congress leaders were also damaged.

Bittu was saved during the clash by his security personnel.

The Punjab Police later arrested a youth Congress leader Parvinder Lapran. Five other Congress leaders were also booked.

A spokesperson from the Chief Minister’s Office said Badal personally spoke to the agitating Congress leaders and assured them that the law would take its own course and anybody found guilty would not be spared.

Jakhar said the probe was an eyewash and that earlier probes by the Punjab Police into major incidents of crime had yielded nothing.

The opposition party leaders alleged that Ludhiana Police Commissioner Jatinder Singh Aulakh and additional Deputy Commissioner of Police Jaswinder Singh were behaving like Akali Dal agents and targeting Congress leaders and activists.

Congress activists had on Wednesday barged into the commissioner’s office in Ludhiana and pasted stickers saying “Proud to be an Akali”.

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