Youth hurt in clash dies, Phagwara tense
Phagwara: A Dalit youth who was critically injured in a violent clash over the renaming of an NH-1 traffic intersection on April 13 succumbed to injuries at a Ludhiana hospital early on Sunday.Yashwant Bobby, 19, who had suffered gunshot injuries, died at DMC Hospital around 1.45 am after battling for life for 16 days. Five persons were injured after members of Dalit outfits and Hindu right-wing groups clashed over putting up of a board bearing Dr BR Ambedkar’s picture at Gol Chowk in a bid to rename the intersection as “Samvidhan Chowk”.Internet services were suspended in the Doaba region around 11 pm on Saturday as a precautionary measure. Around 4,000 policemen, including three companies each of the Rapid Action Force, Anti-Riot Squad and the BSF, besides Punjab Police, were deployed at sensitive places.The traffic on the Ludhiana-Jalandhar National Highway-1 was diverted even as IGP Naunihal Singh monitored the situation through CCTV cameras.Tension prevailed as the body was brought to Phagwara in the morning amid tight security after a post-mortem in Ludhiana. The pyre was lit by the victim’s younger brother at the Banga road cremation ground.As the funeral procession reached Subhash Chowk, some activists demanded that they proceed towards Gol Chowk and rename it as “Samvidhan Chowk”. Even after the cremation, a minor scuffle broke out as some members again tried to head towards Gol Chowk, but were stopped by the police deployed at Subhash Chowk.Wreaths were laid by Kapurthala DC Mohammad Tayab, SSP Sandeep Sharma, former minister Joginder Singh Maan, BSP Punjab president Rashpal Raju, MLA Raj Kumar Chabbewal and former MLA Mohan Lal. ADC Babita Kaler and SDM Jyoti Bala were also present.In Chandigarh, BJP MP Vijay Sampla said the district administration failed in their duty in handling the Phagwara violence. “There has been a total administrative failure in handling the ground situation there. The state government needs to take an immediate call on the issue as well as on the role of the DC and SSP,” said Sampla.