Special Correspondent

Protest was against ‘illegal merger'' of five party MLAs into Congress

CHANDIGARH: The protest rally by the Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC) at the Sector 25 Rally Ground here turned violent on Friday when party activists led by HJC chief and MLA Kuldeep Bishnoi tried to jump over a barricade in an attempt to march towards the Haryana Vidhan Sabha.

At least 30 people, including party leaders and workers and five Chandigarh Police personnel, were injured in the violent clashes that ensued.

The police lobbed teargas shells, used water cannons and resorted to a cane-charge to disperse the party activists who were marching towards the Vidhan Sabha to protest against the ‘illegal merger'' of five HJC MLAs into the ruling Congress.

All the injured, including Mr. Bishnoi, were taken to the Sector-16 General Hospital.

While the Chandigarh police defended the police action saying the workers had indulged in brick-batting and damaged several police vehicles, senior HJC leaders including its lone MP and former Haryana Chief Minister Bhajan Lal alleged that the cops had resorted to unprovoked cane- charge and damaged the vehicles of not only the HJC workers but also those of the media persons covering the event.

While accusing the police of working on the orders of the Congress regime, Mr. Bhajan Lal asserted that the protests by the party against the acts of omission and commission by the Hooda regime would continue.

A relay hunger strike would be organised from Monday onwards, he added, to also protest against price rise, shortage of water and electricity and deteriorating law and order situation.

Mr. Bishnoi said that the HJC would be approaching the Punjab and Haryana High Court soon to seek directions that the party's petition before the Haryana Assembly Speaker seeking disqualification of the five MLAs be heard quickly and in a time-bound manner.