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Dalit Youth Injured in Phagwara Clash Dies; Anti-Riots Squad on Alert

Punjab Police, besides personnel of the Rapid Action Force, Anti-Riots squads and women police and BSF, have been deployed in all sensitive areas in the town.

Anuradha Shukla | News18

Updated:April 30, 2018, 9:54 AM IST
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Dalit Youth Injured in Phagwara Clash Dies; Anti-Riots Squad on Alert
Punjab Police, besides personnel of the Rapid Action Force, Anti-Riots squads and women police and BSF, have been deployed to keep law and order.
Chandigarh: A youth, who was critically injured in a recent clash in Phagwara between members of the Dalit community and Right-wing groups over the renaming of a traffic intersection, succumbed to his injuries at a Ludhiana hospital on Sunday.

Security in the area has been beefed up following the death of 19-year-old Dalit activist Jaswant Bobby. Punjab Police, besides personnel of the Rapid Action Force, Anti-Riots squads and women police and BSF, have been deployed in all sensitive areas in the town.

Bobby’s body reached Phagwara in the morning after postmortem by doctors under tight police security.

Though tension had gripped the town, the cremation was conducted peacefully, PTI quoted police officials as saying. Tanish, Bobby's younger brother, lit the funeral pyre.

On April 13, clashes erupted in Phagwara between members of Dalit outfits and Right-wing groups after the former allegedly put up a board with a picture of BR Ambedkar at Gol Chowk and tried to rename the Paper Chowk intersection as Samvidhan Chowk.

Six persons were injured in the clashes and Bobby had sustained head injury.

After Bobby’s body was brought to Phagwara, it was kept at Bhagwan Valmiki Chowk, which had been the venue for prayers and dharna for his well-being since April 14.

PTI reported that when the body was being brought out of the mohalla, a group of enraged youths started raising slogans and refused to move further if the demand for Samvidhan Chowk along with inscription of 'Shaheed Bobby's' name on it, was not accepted.

After they were persuaded by authorities to proceed, they again stood ground near Valmiki Mandir on Phagwara-Banga road. They reportedly refused to budge and at one stage even turned back with the intention of proceeding towards Gol chowk with the bier on their shoulders but heavy police force stood in their way.

They were pacified by Harkamalpreet Singh Khakh, Assistant Inspector General of Police, Organised Crime and Control, who had come with the body from Ludhiana. Then the body reached cremation ground on Banga Road where the last rites were performed.

Chabbewal MLA Raj Kumar placed a wreath on the body on behalf of Punjab government. Several political leaders from the opposition parties also placed wreaths.

Punjab BSP President Rashpal Singh Raju reiterated his party's demand for constituting a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the clash.

(With PTI inputs)

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| Edited by: Nitya Thirumalai
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