Caste groups clash; cops use force

The Tribune
31st July 2000

JALANDHAR, July 30 (UNI) -The demand for the release of a suspect in a theft case from police custody snowballed into an inter-caste tension at a city police station last night when two warring caste groups exchanged brickbats and the police used force to quell the clash.

Suspect Husan Lal, who was rounded up in a case of theft which took place in March, was released on the assurance of former minister Mahinder Singh Kaypee and Congress councillor Ram Lal that he would be produced as and when wanted by the police for questioning in the case registered on March 5.

When Mr Ram Lal and Mr Paras Ram of the Congress and Mr Pawan Tinoo of Bahujan Samaj Party were negotiating with the police for the release of the suspect, somebody from the crowd hurled a casteist abuse at police station sho vijay Kumar. This led to the division of the group along casteist lines and stone pelting began. The police briefly wielded the baton to quell clashing casteist groups. They dispersed after the accused was let off.

One caste faction, which harboured a grudge against the SHO, then went to a disputed temple at Basti Danishmanda and tore away a police tent, forcing five police personnel to spend the night in the open. The police guard had been stationed at the temple site pending outcome of litigation in the high court.

The second caste faction, which took umbrage at the abuse hurled at SHO Vijay Kumar, mobilised supporters under the leadership of Raj Kumar of Basti Danishmanda and Bishan Dass of Basti Sheikh and marched to the residence of Senior Superintendent of Police Gaurav Yadav this morning. When told that the SSP was not at home, the agitated group was directed to meet SP (City) Pawan Uppal in police station division number two.

The protesters demanded the arrest of Mr Kaypee and Mr Ram Lal, alleging that the duo had incited their supporters in hurling abuse at the police station.

Even as their leaders were pressing their case with Mr Uppal someone tipped off the agitators about the presence of Congress state president Amarinder Singh in the city. The agitators then marched to a city hotel and met the state Congress chief, reiterating their demand for action against Mr Kaypee and Mr Ram Lal.

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