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Phagwara Clash: Two Dalits Begin Hunger Strike

The duo alleged that despite being victims of the April 13 clash, the police lodged the FIR against the Dalits.

Phagwara, Apr 13 Two local Dalit leaders have gone on an indefinite hunger strike here since last evening, demanding arrests of those who had fired indiscriminately, injuring two youths of their community during a recent sectarian clash on the issue of renaming an NH1 traffic intersection through the town as ‘Samvidhan Chowk’ here.

Dalit leaders Pawan Sethi and Rajinder Ghera, observing fast under the banner of Bahujan Sangharsh Organisation of India, said their agitation is also aimed at seeking suspension of Phagwara Superintendent of Police, Parminder Singh Bhandal and other police officers in whose presence the gunshots were allegedly fired.

The duo alleged that despite being victims of the April 13 clash, the police lodged the FIR against the Dalits.

While demanding revocation of the FIRs against them, the arrests of the assailant youths and suspension of their firearms’ licences, Sethi and Gehra also sought compensation for the injured Dalit youths during the clash.

They also pressed for renaming the NH1 traffic intersection as Samvidhan Chowk, besides seeking government jobs for their community members.

The April 13 clashes in Phagwara had taken place between a Dalit group and the members of a right-wing outfit over differences between them on renaming the intersection.

Akali councillors Sarabjit Kaur and Baljinder Singh were among scores of supporters of different parties who sat along with the duo to express solidarity with them.

Meanwhile, an ongoing sit-in by the Dalits in Bhagwan Valmik chowk entered the sixth day today.

In a separate meeting, the Congress party demanded action against the “divisive forces” for allegedly holding peace and amity of town to ransom.

Presided by former Punjab minister Joginder Singh Mann, the meeting demanded deterrent punishment to those who had vitiated city’s peace.

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