Phagwara clash: Internet ban in four Punjab districts till April 16

Tension in Phagwara on eve of Dr Ambedkar's birth anniversary

Following the clashes between two groups over the installation of a statue of Dr BR Ambedkar in Phagwara, the state government on Saturday ordered the suspension of the mobile internet services with immediate effect.

As per the CM's order, the internet services have been stopped in four districts such as Hoshiarpur, Jalandhar, Kapurthala and Nawanshahr for next 24 hours.

Several vehicles were damaged during the clashes as members of both the groups pelted stones at each other, police said. The curb on internet and SMS services would be lifted after a span of 24 hours after reviewing the situation, said the press release issued by the Secretary, Home Affairs, Punjab.

The incident took place when members of a group allegedly installed a board carrying a picture of Dalit icon B R Ambedkar at Gol Chowk here on National Highway-1. Among those injured include Punjab Shiv Sena vice president Rajesh Palta and Jimmy, the son of Inderjit Karwal, vice president Shiv Sena Bal Thackeray.

The clashes between the two groups started after a group led by dalits tried to name a prominent chowk in the town as Samvidhan Chowk. "We have deployed adequate number of police personnel in and around Phagwara to keep the protesters at bay", he said. However, later in the day, situation was brought under control after a huge police contingent marched through Phagwara.

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At least 700 security men took out a flag march today in Phagwara as tensions prevailed throughout the city.

IG Naunihal Singh, Commissioner (Jalandhar Division) Raj Kamal Chaudhary, Kapurthala DC Mohammad Tayyab and SSP Sandeep Sharma have been camping at Phagwara.

Members of one group demanded transfer of the local sub divisional magistrate and superintendent of police.

Meanwhile, the visit of Punjab Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Shawait Malik was cancelled owing to the tension, as he was to visit Phagwara on Saturday to address BJP councillors.

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