After clashes between two groups in Phagwara over the installation of a board and renaming of a “chowk” (intersection), mobile internet and SMS services have been suspended in four districts of Punjab.
The Punjab government has suspended the services in Kapurthala, Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur and Shahid Bhagat Singh Nagar districts with immediate effect for 24 hours in the wake of the clashes, an order issued by Secretary, Home Affairs, Punjab, has said.
“There is a likelihood of tension, annoyance, obstruction, injury to persons, danger to human life and property, disturbance of public peace and tranquillity in Punjab by miscreants, anti-national and anti social elements in view of the rapidly deteriorating law and order situation in Kapurthala, Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur and Shahid Bhagat Singh Nagar after the clash,” it reportedly said.
“The order of suspension of mobile internet services (2G/3G/4G/CDMA), all SMS services and all dongle services provided on mobile networks, except voice calls… shall be in force for next 24 hours with immediate effect,” the order said.
Several vehicles were damaged during the clashes as members of both the groups pelted stones at each other, media reports quoted police as saying.
The incident took place when members of a group allegedly installed a board carrying a picture of Dalit icon B R Ambedkar at Gol Chowk on National Highway-1. They also tried to rename it Savidhan Chowk, they reportedly said.
However, members of another group objected to it and that led to a clash between both the groups, police said.
Jimmy, the son of Inderjit Karwal, vice president Shiv Sena Bal Thackeray, were among those who were injured. Punjab Shiv Sena vice president Rajesh Palta was also allegedly thrashed by members of the opposite group, they were quoted as saying.
Some shots were also fired during the clash, a PTI report quoted police as saying.
Tension prevailed in the city following Friday’s clash as several shops and commercial establishments remained closed and around 700 security men took out a flag march this morning to instill confidence in the public, the reports said.