BJP protesters vent ire outside Amritsar mosquesAugust 21st, 2008 - 10:22 pm ICT by IANS
Amritsar, Aug 21 (IANS) A rally to protest the revocation of land allotted to the Amarnath shrine in Jammu and Kashmir turned ugly when some Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) members and their supporters created unruly scenes outside two local mosques here Thursday.The BJP protesters, led by cricketer-turned-politician and local MP Navjot Singh Sidhu, were taking out a rally as part of the ongoing nationwide protests on the Amarnath land row. They damaged some property outside one of the mosques in the Hall Bazaar area of the walled city. They even burnt two Pakistani flags.
Eyewitnesses said a Muslim youth was beaten by the protesters. Police personnel accompanying the rallyists reacted in time to prevent the situation from getting out of hand.
Police officials denied that the mosques were attacked. Border range Inspector General Rajpal Meena said they were verifying the reports and claimed the police were vigilant.
Sidhu and other leaders went ahead with the rally when some miscreants at the end of the procession allegedly created unruly scenes outside the mosques.
District administration officials said a case was registered against one protestor for hurling a stone at the house of a member of the minority community.
The protest was held by the BJP, Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal.
Nearly 800 protesters were arrested by the police and let off later.
Sidhu denied that anyone created unruly scenes outside the mosques. “No one did any violence outside the mosques. If any miscreant did so, it is highly condemnable,” Sidhu said.
Elsewhere in Punjab, hundreds of BJP workers were arrested during their ‘jail bharo’ (court arrest) protest in Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Barnala, Patiala and other places.
In Barnala town in south-west Punjab, BJP protesters damaged the building of the Deputy Commissioner’s office.