Protest over general category panel in Himachal Pradesh, Additional SP, 3 other cops hurt

Protest over general category panel in Himachal Pradesh, Additional SP, 3 other cops hurt

2022-03-17 00:33:31

Tribune News Service

Bhanu P Lohumi
Shimla, March 16

Four police personnel, including Shimla Additional SP Sushil Kumar, were injured and two police vehicles damaged as protesters, under the banner of the Dev Bhumi Kshatriya Sangathan and other Swarn organisations, pelted them with stones near Shoghi here today.

The demonstrators, demanding a legal status for the Swarn Aayog, also resorted to a chakka jam at the Tutikandi bifurcation, blocking vehicular traffic on the Shimla-Kalka highway for over seven hours.

A group of protesters was carrying sticks and stones, which were recovered after the blockade was removed. The police were fully prepared for any exigency but exercised restraint.

A policeman injured in stone pelting. Photo: Amit Kanwar

They said that Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur had given a written assurance in December last year to constitute an Aayog with legal provisions within three months. “The state government has failed to bring a legislation during the Budget session and so has cheated us,” said Rumit Thakur, president of the Kshatriya Sangathan. The agitators (around 1,500 in number) also tore the banners of the Chief Minister.

The protesters wanted the Chief Minister to talk to them but later dispersed. The blockade was lifted around the evening as fissures appeared among the protesters after Rumit Thakur announced to float a political party and contest the upcoming Assembly elections. However, senior leaders insisted that there were no differences in the sangathan and the decision to contest the Assembly elections was final.

Meanwhile, people faced inconvenience as hundreds of vehicles were stranded between Tutikandi and Shogi. Several harried commuters from Punjab, Chandigarh and Haryana had to return, as the highway remained blocked for several hours. The daily supply of milk and vegetables was also delayed as traffic was diverted via Taradevi to Tutu and Chakkar.

Employees, students and patients were the worst-hit. Lalit Chauhan, a resident of Mamleeg village near Jubbarhatti, who had to reach New Shimla for dialysis, had a hard day. “I was stuck in a traffic jam near Taradevi and had to take the Tutu road but was diverted towards Summerhill from Boileauganj due to a road blockade,” he rued.

Earlier, in the morning, the situation turned volatile as the protesters defied the prohibitory orders, demolished barricades erected by the police at Shoghi, pelted policemen with stones and damaged their vehicles. The Tutikandi bifurcation was converted into a fortress with a heavy police deployment. Fire engines were kept in a state of readiness and quick response teams (QRT) were rushed to the spot to stop the protesters from advancing. The Deputy Commissioner and the SP were present at Shoghi.

Additional SP, Shimla, Sushil Thakur and QRT jawan Kartik, who sustained major head injuries, have been admitted to the IGMC. Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur visited the IGMC to enquire after their health and wished them a speedy recovery. Two FIRs were registered against 10 to 15 identified persons, besides others for attacking police officials on duty, damaging public property, blocking road and defying Section 144 of the CrPC, said Monika Bhutungru, SP, Shimla.

The protesters had started arriving in Shimla Tuesday night. Shimla District Magistrate Aditya Negi had imposed Section 144 yesterday, banning protests and rallies within 50 metres of the Himachal Pradesh Secretariat, Chotta Shimla, Raj Bhawan, High Court, Chief Minister’s residence (Oakover), MLAs’ hostel, 500 metres from the Tutikandi parking to the Victory Tunnel, AG Office Chowk to Boileauganj via Chaura Maidan and Dhalli Bazaar to Nigam Vihar via Sanjauli.

Milk supply delayed

  • The demonstrators pelted policemen with stones near Shoghi
  • They resorted to chakka jam at Tutikandi bifurcation
  • Traffic on the Shimla-Kalka highway blocked for over 7 hours
  • Daily supply of milk and vegetables also delayed.
  • Additional SP Sushil Thakur and QRT jawan Kartik admitted to IGMC

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