Panchkula braces for protests, security tightened

Tight security near Panchkula district courts on Sunday (Representational/Express photo: Kamleshwar Singh)

Written by Piyush Sarna

AS THE Vidhan Sabha session of Haryana began Wednesday, Panchkula is gearing up a week of protests over issues ranging from traffic to security, in which thousands are expected to participate. A police battalion of 80 personnel was specially called from Kaithal while 25 policemen were permanently stationed at the Housing Board light point — the epicentre for protests. The neighbouring Chandigarh police was also informed about the situation.

On Wednesday, commuters had a rough time navigating the streets as hundreds of members of All India Krishak Khet Majdoor Sangathan tried to proceed towards the Vidhan Sabha from Sector 5 in Panchkula, and were stopped at the Housing Board light point by Chandigarh police.

Entry to Panchkula from Chandigarh side was barricaded for four and a half hours, and there was a massive traffic jam from Kalagram light point to Command Hospital light point. Panchkula police also perted traffic going towards Chandigarh from the Sector 7 roundabout for Mansa Devi light point. The protesters only agreed to end their demonstration when senior administrative officers assured them that a letter of their demands was submitted to the office of Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar.

Panchkula DCP Kamaldeep Goyal said, "During session days, the number of protests goes up. We prefer to stop them at the border of Panchkula/Chandigarh as protesters always want to gherao the Haryana Vidhan Sabha."

While All India Krishak Khet Majdoor Sangathan protesters dispersed, members of three more organisations included the JBT Teacher Welfare Association, Netraheen Kalyan Manch (Blind Welfare Stage) and Lab Technician Employees are camping in Panchkula, Sector 5, waiting to march towards Chandigarh.