Mohali, Feb 8 (PTI) Protesters seeking the release of Sikh prisoners clashed with police on Wednesday after a water cannon was used to prevent them from heading towards Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann’s residence in Chandigarh.
Police had put up barricades near the Chandigarh-Mohali border to prevent the protesters from moving towards the chief minister’s residence.
When the protesters tried to force their way through the barricades, the Chandigarh Police resorted to using a water cannon to disperse them.
The protesters damaged a water cannon vehicle, a “vajra” (riot control vehicle), two police jeeps, a fire-fighting vehicle and some other vehicles with swords and sticks.
There were heated arguments and a scuffle between the protesters and police. Stones were hurled too, police said.
The protesters under the banner of the Qaumi Insaaf Morcha wanted to go to the chief minister’s residence to press for their demands, including the release of Sikh prisoners who they claim are lodged in different prisons despite having completed their sentences.
People from various parts of Punjab have been staging a protest at the YPS Chowk near the Chandigarh-Mohali border since January 7.
Later, more protesters carrying swords and sticks gathered at the site of protest including some Nihangs who turned violent and thrashed some of the police personnel.
The policemen were chased by the protesters, one of whom was carrying a tear gas gun, apparently left behind by a police personnel.
The protesters are also seeking justice in the 2015 sacrilege and police-firing incidents in Faridkot.
For the last two days, the protesters have been trying to go to Chandigarh but were detained by police.
Nihangs, members of several Sikh bodies and others are supporting the demands of the morcha.
The protesters have also been seeking the release of Sikh prisoners including Balwant Singh Rajoana, a convict in former Punjab chief minister Beant Singh’s assassination.
They also want the release of Devinderpal Singh Bhullar, a 1993 Delhi bomb blast convict. PTI CHS VSD FZH FZH
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