A group of farmers thrashed a BJP MLA, tore his clothes and threw black ink at him in Malout in Punjab’s Muktsar district on 27 March.
BJP’s Abohar MLA Arun Narang along with other local leaders were surrounded by a group of protesting farmers in Malout where had gone to address a press conference.
The protesters were already waiting near the BJP office in the area for Arun Narang to arrive. On his arrival, the protesting farmers threw black ink at him which also stained his car.
Some police personnel then took the MLA and local leaders to a shop. But later when they came out of it, the protesters allegedly thrashed them and also tore Narang’s clothes, police said. Narang was later escorted to a safer place by the police.
A video showing the BJP MLA in torn clothes being shifted to a safer place by the police also surfaced on social media on 27 March.
A news agencyreported Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), Malout, Jaspal Singh said the protesters were adamant that they would not allow the BJP legislators to hold the press conference. A police official sustained a minor injury in the incident, the DSP said.
Narang said that he was “punched” by some people. “I was punched a lot and my clothes were also torn off,” he alleged.
An FIR has been registered against 250-300 unknown protesters under Section 307 (attempt to murder) and other relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). An investigation is underway to identify the accused, police said.
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), BJP and the ruling Indian National Congress (INC) in Punjab condemned the incident.
SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal termed the “violent attack” on Narang “deplorable” and demanded an impartial inquiry to fix the responsibility for the “failure of the police in protecting the dignity of an elected representative”.
BJP national general secretary Tarun Chugh launched an attack at the Amarinder Singh-led Punjab government over the incident and claimed that it has “exposed the complete collapse of law and order in the state”.
Terming the incident as a “murderous attack”, Chugh accused the ruling Congress of engineering it. Amarinder Singh was “instigating such attacks in order to stifle the voice of the BJP”, Chugh alleged and demanded that the chief minister resigns.
State INC chief Sunl Jakhar, meanwhile, said such “unlawful behaviour” has no place in a democracy and that the farmers’ protest will be weakened by these incidents.
Calling the attack “highly unfortunate”, Jakhar said everyone should be allowed to present his views and every citizen should respect each other’s right to speak. No one should be allowed to take law and order in their own hands, the state INC chief said.
SAD leader Daljit Singh Cheema condemned the attack and described it as “painful”. He said that in a democracy, everybody has a right to put forth his views, adding that there is no place for violence in society.
Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) leader Darshan Pal said such behaviour is not encouraged and appealed to all protesters to remain disciplined and peaceful.
“Today, farmers protested against BJP MLA from Abohar. Under adverse circumstances, it turned violent and the MLA was physically assaulted.
“It is a matter of regret that an elected representative was treated this way. We do not encourage such behaviour. We strongly condemn this act,” Darshan Pal said in a statement.
SKM is an umbrella body of farmers’ union spearheading the agitation against the Centre’s farm laws.