Phagwara clashes: Mob internet, SMS services suspended in

DW BUREAU / Chandigarh

Phagwara Mobile internet and SMS services were suspended on Saturday in four districts of Punjab following clashes between two groups in Phagwara, in which four persons were injured, officials said. The groups clashed last night over the installation of a board and renaming of a “chowk” (intersection), police said.

The Punjab government has suspended the services in Kapurthala, Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur and Shahid Bhagat Singh Nagar districts with immediate effect for 24 hours in the wake of the clashes, 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 Shahid Bhagat Singh Nagar after the clash,” it said. “The order of suspension of mobile internet services (2G/3G/4G/CDMA), all SMS services and all dongle services provided on mobile networks, except voice calls… shall be in force for next 24 hours with immediate effect,” the order said.

Several vehicles were damaged during the clashes as members of both the groups pelted stones at each other, police said.

The incident took place when members of a group allegedly installed a board carrying a picture of Dalit icon B R Ambedkar at Gol Chowk here on National Highway-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 both the groups, police said.

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. Tension prevailed in the city following yesterday’s clash as several shops and commercial establishments remained closed and around 700 security men took out a flag march this morning to instill confidence in the public.

Kapurthala Deputy Commissioner (DC) Mohammad Tayyab and Senior Superintendent of Police Sandeep Sharma were in the march.

The DC and the SSP also visited Hanumangarhi temple and Chak Hakeem Ravidas temple to meet the activists of both the groups.

Members of one group demanded transfer of the local sub divisional magistrate and the superintendent of police.

Meanwhile, Rajya Sabha member and Punjab BJP’s president Shwait Malik cancelled his Phagwara visit in view of the tension prevailing there. Phagwara Municipal Corporation Mayor Arun Khosla had yesterday invited all party workers to the corporation hall on Saturday for a meeting. The meeting was to be addressed by Malik during his maiden visit to Phagwara after his elevation to the post of party’s presidentship.

(editor@dailyworld.in)

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