Sukhbir Badal's cars damaged; four injured in Cong-SAD clash in Fazlika's Jalalabad

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Chandigarh, Feb 2 (PTI) SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal's car was damaged and four persons were injured on Tuesday in a clash between Congress and Akali workers during filing of nomination papers for Jalalabad municipal polls in Fazilka district, officials said.

Badal, however, escaped unhurt in the violence, they said.

Akali Dal Chief and Ferozepur MP Badal and his supporters reached Jalalabad administrative complex to file nomination forms of their party nominees for the municipal polls.

In the meantime, Congressmen accompanied by Jalalabad party MLA Raminder Awla’s son also reached there to file nomination papers of their party men, SAD workers claimed.

The two groups got engaged in a verbal spat and the Congressmen later 'gheroed' Badal’s vehicle to oppose him, triggering a violent clash during which the two groups pelted stones at each other, police said, adding some gunshots too were fired but it was yet to be ascertained who fired them.

The two groups also attacked each other with sticks, police said, adding several vehicles, including Sukhbir's car, were damaged.

Videos of stone-pelting on Sukhbir's car went viral on social media.

Police lathi-charged the mob to disperse it.

MLA Raminder Awla, when contacted, accused Akali supporters of initiating the clash by breaking down the barricades and pushing Congressmen to intimidate them. Akalis fired gun-shots and used sticks, injuring two Congressmen, he alleged.

In his counter-allegation, Badal accused Awla of being behind the violence, adding that being a member of parliament from the area, he had gone there to boost the morale of party candidates at Jalalabad but the Congressmen attacked his car besides injuring three Akali workers. Fazilka’s Senior Superintendent of Police Harjit Singh said four people suffered injuries. One critically injured man was referred to Guru Gobind Singh Medical College and Hospital, Faridkot, he added.

“We have controlled the situation and now all the aspirants are filing their nomination papers in a peaceful atmosphere,” the SSP said. “Further investigation is going on and accused will be taken to task,” he added.

Later While addressing workers, Badal lashed at the local Congress MLA as well as police.

He sat on a 'dharna' at Shaheed Udham Singh Chowk, demanding the registration of a case against the “guilty”.

Meanwhile, SAD condemned the 'murderous attack' on Akali workers and Badal by 'police-backed Congress goons” at Jalalabad and demanded Chief Minister Amarinder Singh's resignation over the alleged breakdown in the law and order situation in the state.

In a statement here, party spokesman Daljit Singh Cheema said, “It seems there was a premeditated attempt on the SAD president's life and the Jalalabad police was complicit in this crime as it allowed attackers a free run.” Alleging that the attack enjoyed state patronage, he also demanded a high-level judicial inquiry under the supervision of the chief justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Asserting that democracy was being “murdered” in the state under Amarinder Singh's leadership with criminals ruling the roost, Cheema said the chief minister had lost the moral right to continue in his post.

“He should put in his papers immediately,” the SAD leader asserted while accusing the chief minister of being directly responsible for disturbing the peace and communal harmony of the state.

Elections to the eight municipal corporations and 109 municipal councils and nagar panchayats in Punjab will be held on February 14.

Cheema said it was clear now that free and fair elections could not be held to the municipal bodies under these circumstances.

“The State Election Commission has also utterly failed to rein in rogue Congress elements. The SAD demands immediate deployment of paramilitary forces in the state as the Punjab police could not be trusted to do its duty. The Ferozepur SSP and all other police officials complicit in this crime should also be proceeded against immediately,” Cheema added. PTI CHS VSD RAX RAX