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Cong men protest, force cops to whisk away Sukhbir from rally 

Gurdaspur: The local police and personal security men of SAD president Sukhbir Badal and Bikram Majithia were forced to escort them out of the “pandal” of the Baba Sant Hazara Singh complex at Nikke Ghumni, 20 km from here, after hundreds of Congress sympathisers surrounded them and started using “abusive” language.

The incident occurred around 11 pm last night.

Other leaders who had to face a harrowing time were former Cabinet minister Virsa Singh Valtoha, Gurdaspur SAD president Gurbachan Singh Babbehali, Batala MLA Lakhbir Singh Lodhinangal and former chairman of the Punjab Tubewell Corporation Ravi Karan Kahlon. 

Gurdaspur-based SAD dissident leader Sewa Singh Sekhwan, whose differences with Sukhbir are well known, was conspicuous by his absence.

A senior leader claimed that the situation would have gone out of hand had the police not intermingled with the crowd in plain clothes and separate potential trouble makers. Scores of policemen in civvies entered the pandal and managed to bring out the trouble makers from the 15,000 strong crowd.

The complex has two gurdwaras. One of them is controlled by Baba Budh Singh, a SAD supporter, while the other is managed by Baba Amrik Singh, a loyalist of Cabinet minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa.

Around 11 pm, Baba Budh Singh started delivering his speech in the Angitha Sahib gurdwara. He suddenly started training his guns on Randhawa. Tension was simmering in the “pandal” and Budh Singh’s anti-Congress sentiment only added fuel to the fire forcing the police to requisition additional forces.

Around 1,000 Congress supporters, sitting in the rear, started raising anti-SAD slogans forcing the personal security men of Sukhbir and Majithia to provide cover to the leaders.

The situation was brought under control when both Sukhbir and Majithia decided not to go ahead with their speeches giving much-needed respite to the police.

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