Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Dalit teen dies after clash over circle name

Arnab Ganguly Apr 30, 2018 00:00 IST

Chandigarh: A Dalit teenager died early on Sunday, succumbing to bullet injuries he suffered a fortnight back in clashes between an Ambedkarite outfit and Hindu groups in the first casualty since tensions between upper castes and organisations representing the underprivileged snowballed into violence.

The April 13 clashes in Phagwara - a day before B.R. Ambedkar's birth anniversary - had erupted over the installation of a hoarding depicting the Dalit icon and chief architect of the Constitution, and the attempted renaming of a roundabout after the statute.

The upper castes want the Gol Chowk roundabout in Phagwara named after freedom fighter Bhagat Singh.

Yashwant Bobby, 19, who was hit during the clashes, was declared dead around 2.30am by doctors treating him at a hospital in Ludhiana.

Phagwara has been simmering since the violence, which also left four others injured. Over 100 people have been booked, including the heads of the Shiv Sena and Bharatiya Hindu Suraksha Samity and leaders of the Ambedkar Sena (Mool Niwas) and the Lok Insaf Party.

Internet services have been blocked in Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Shahid Bhagat Singh Nagar, Hoshiarpur and Ludhiana, and 4,000 security personnel, including three companies of the Rapid Action Force, anti-riot squad and the BSF, deployed in sensitive areas of Phagwara.

On Sunday, Yashwant's body was brought from Ludhiana to Phagwara, accompanied by Harkamalpreet Singh Khakh, assistant inspector-general of police (organised crime and control).

The Ambedkar Sena led a procession with the stretcher and demanded that Gol Chowk be renamed immediately as Sanvidhan Chowk and a memorial to the teen put up at the site.

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