The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today asked the Congress government to withdraw all cross cases registered against dalits who were attacked and fired upon by Punjab Shiv Sena goons when they had peacefully congregated to rename the Gol Chowk in Phagwara as Samvidhan Chowk within one week or face a State level agitation on this issue.The Scheduled Caste Wing of the SAD led by S Gulzar Singh Ranike and including senior leaders Sohan Singh Thandal, Satwinder Kaur Dhaliwal, Mohinder Kaur Josh and Pawan Kumar Teenu also demanded immediate arrest of all perpetrators of the ghastly unprovoked attacked on dalits on April 13. Mr Ranike pointed out that a case had been registered against sixteen persons but only four of them had been arrested till now.The SC Wing President also demanded that the Congress government also act against all Shiv Sena leaders who had instigated the attack against the Dalit community and withdraw all gunmen and escort vehicles given to them. Mr Ranike said the licenses of the Shiv Sena leaders should be withdrawn and their weapons should be permanently confiscated. He said it should also be ascertained why a plethora of gunmen had been given to such persons and the officers responsible for this should also be proceeded against.
Giving details of the entire case, senior SAD leader Pawan Kumar Teenu said it was clear that the entire incident had been preplanned because the electricity connection in the area was disconnected before indiscriminate firing against the dalit community was initiated by Shiv Sena goons. He said around forty shots were fired but the police personnel deployed at the spot remained mute spectators and did not take any action to rein in the miscreants. He said what was even more shocking was that cross cases had been registered against dalit activists and even their young children to intimidate them. “This despite the fact that 47 out of 56 councilors of Phagwara municipal committee signed a public resolution in favour of renaming Gol Chowk as Samvidhan Chowk”.Mr Teenu disclosed that one dalit activist Jaswant Sethi alias Bobby was grievously injured when a bullet hit him on the head while two others received gun-shot wounds and were seriously injured. He asked the government to disclose the health condition of Jaswant Sethi who was said to be on ventilator at the DMC hospital in Ludhiana.The dalit leaders including Satwant Kaur Sandhu, Justice (retd) Nirmal Singh, S R Kler, Dr Sukhwinder Kumar, Baldev Khara,Vijay Danav, Paramjit Singh Kapurthala and Seth Satpal Mal said attacks against the dalit community were on the rise as had happened at Bathinda recently when Punjab finance minister Manpreet Badal’s brother in law Jaijit Johal alias Jojo had made casteist and derogatory remarks against the skin colour of members of the dalit community in public. The leaders said in another incident a government doctor had publically abused and severely beaten up a dalit woman who had gone to him for medicine. “All these incidents are occurring due to the anti-dalit mindset of the Congress party as well as its leaders. We are giving the government one week time to take concrete action in all these cases following which we will launch a State wide agitation to ensure justice to the victims”, the leaders added.