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30 injured in clash of Haryana Janhit Congress, cops

Chandigarh, March 5 (IANS) Over 30 people, including five policemen, were injured when a rally of Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC) turned violent Friday after police stopped them from marching towards the assembly to protest against the policies of the Congress government in Haryana.

Over 1,000 HJC workers, led by party chief Kuldeep Bishnoi, had gathered at the Sector 25 ground to protest the policies of the state government. They were stopped by police when they tried to jump a barricade to march towards the assembly.

A clash ensued, following which police used batons, tear gas shells and water cannons to disperse the mob.

The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) was also called to control the mob.

Nearly 25 HJC workers and more than five police personnel were injured in the clash.

Superintendent of Police (crime) Madhur Verma told reporters: ‘They (HJC workers) were not ready to listen to us and were arguing with the police. They started pelting stones and bricks towards us. We had to use some force to control the situation and to avoid any untoward incident.’

Former chief minister of Haryana and Kuldeep Bishnoi’s father Bhajan Lal, who was also present during the protest, said: ‘Police are working on the directions of the Congress government. It is totally wrong and they have crossed all limits. But we will continue our protest.’

The HJC workers accused the police of beating them without any provocation and of destroying their property and damaging cars.

‘We were staging the protest peacefully and wanted to go up to assembly. But the police, without any provocation, attacked us. They had come with full preparation and did not even spare the female party workers,’ Yogendera Nath Mehrotra, district (Rohtak) president of the HJC, told IANS.

‘They cannot muzzle our voice like this; we will again come back at the same place with more manpower and fight till our end,’ he added.

Ramesh Kadiya, a party worker from Hisar, said: ‘They treated us like animals. We were sitting quietly inside our car but suddenly cops started smashing its window-panes and windscreens. They did not allow us to come out of the vehicle, due to which my brother has sustained severe head injury.’

According to eyewitnesses, police also went berserk and smashed mirrors of at least 30 cars and 10 private buses belonging to HJC party workers.

Both Lal and his son Kuldeep were expelled from the Congress, following which they floated their own party HJC. Last year, the HJC won six seats in the assembly elections but later five of the legislators joined the Congress.

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