DSP injured as Khalsa supporters turn violent

Deputy Superintendent of Police Tilak Raj today suffered head injuries in Ajnala while trying to stop a group of youths marching towards Hassanpur village (Ludhiana) where Surat Singh Khalsa has been fasting for 185 days demanding the release of 82 Sikh detainees lodged in various jails of the country.  The protesters hurled stones at the police in Ajnala when they were stopped from marching towards Hassanpur. Around 100 persons were rounded up and over 25 preventive arrests made across the state to prevent violence, police sources said. The police also seized about 30 petrol bombs and impounded some tractor-trailers laden with stones and bricks from the village.  Hassanpur, native village of Surat Singh Khalsa, has been turned into a fortress as the Sikh activist’s condition is deteriorating fast. Khalsa insists on the detainees’release before he can end his fast. Sources said the police action started on Saturday  following intelligence reports that violence might break out during a march to Hassanpur. The police also thwarted marches by supporters of Khalsa and activists of the All India Sikh Student Federation (AISSF) and some radical Sikh organisations who had gathered in different parts of the state, including Amritsar, Moga and Faridkot, and were heading towards Hassanpur. According to Sukhjit Singh Khosa, chief of the Satkar Committee, over 200 supporters of Khalsa were rounded up. “It is a curfew-like situation in Hassanpur. We are without food since last night. The supply of wheat flour and vegetables has been snapped,” Khosa said. Nearly 1,000 police personnel entered the village on Saturday night and blocked all entry points. Khalsa’s daughter Sarvinder Kaur said his supporters were holding a peaceful protest. “It is a false allegation that some youths were preparing petrol bombs. They had collected petrol in bottles for self-immolation, if the police tried to take away Khalsa,” she said. Prominent among those taken in custody were Mohkam Singh of the United Akali Dal, former terrorist Wassan Singh Jaffarwal and AISSF vice-president Gurmukh Singh Sandhu. In Moga, the police raided the houses of Karnail Singh Peer Mohammad and Gurmukh Singh Sandhu, AISSF president and vice-president, respectively. Karnail Singh managed to escape the police net, but Sandhu was detained. The Bathinda police have arrested United Akali Dal senior leader Gurdeep Singh, who is also the convener of the Bandi Sikh Sangarsh Committee that has been demanding the release of Sikh prisoners. The police raided his home last night.