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Police ‘lathicharge’ protesters in Punjab

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Patiala, March 8, 2020-

Nearly half a dozen protesters, comprising women, were injured in Punjab’s Patiala district after being lathicharged by the police at a demonstration against the failure of the Congress government to provide them jobs, police said.

Several women protesters, who were injured, claimed that the police “attacked” them without a provocation and they were pulled by the hair.

A few policemen were among those injured as they tried to disperse the protesters who wanted to surround the Chief Minister Amarinder Singh’s private residence here.

The protesters, belonging to ETT-TET Unemployed Teachers’ Union, were protesting against the failure of the government to provide them government jobs in the Education Department.

The protesters have cleared the Elementary Teacher Training (ETT) and qualified the Teacher Eligibility Test (TET).

For several months they have staged a sit-in protest outside the residence of Education Minister Vijay Inder Singla in Sangrur town, demanding jobs.

Police asked the marching protesters to disperse but they insisted to go towards the Chief Minister’s residence. As a scuffle broke out between protesters and police personnel, the police had to use force to disperse them.

“We were protesting peacefully, but the police personnel attacked us with sticks without any provocation,” said woman protester Raj Rani.

“The government is advocating promoting a girl child and empowering the women. Contrary to this, it used the force to silent our voices on the day when the world is honouring women on International Women’s Day,” she said with tears rolling down.

Another protester Surjit Kaur said the police, especially the male cops, were ruthless towards the women protesters.

She claimed the male cops lathicharged them and pulled them by the hair.

Former Education minister and Shriomani Akali Dal leader Daljit Singh Cheema said the lathicharge is condemnable.

“The government must find solutions through talks and not by force. There should be action against those involved,” he said.

Former Patiala Member of Parliament Dharamvir Gandhi decried the police action.

The agitators were heading towards the Chief Minister’s residence just to hand over their charter of demands when the police began the lathicharge.

“This is commendable. The Chief Minister and his family is not living here on many occasions. The protest was just symbolic. It was wrong to use force against the unemployed protesters,” he said.  (Agency)

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