Police cane-charge students at Jallianwala Bagh

February 13th, 2009 - 1:34 am ICT by IANS  

Amritsar, Feb 12 (IANS) Reminding people of the brutality by the police during the British rule, the Punjab police Thursday resorted to cane charge on students who were protesting against the modernisation work at the historic Jallianwala Bagh in this Sikh holy city.
The protest by the students, including girls, turned violent when the police resorted to cane-charge on the peaceful protestors. The police even chased the protesting students right up to the Golden Temple complex, which houses the holiest of Sikh shrines Harmandar Sahib.

The action against the students came after they dismantled one of the new structures being put up at the Jallianwala Bagh. The students claimed that the Bagh’s history and records were being tampered with in the name of modernisation of the place.

Eyewitnesses said the police even chased the students, associated with the Punjab Students Union and the Bharat Naujawan Sabha, inside the Golden Temple complex. They claimed that the police dragged the protestors from the Golden Temple complex.

Nearly 30 students, including 11 girls, were arrested by the police following the incident even as Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal took exception to the police handling of the situation.

The state government rushed Director General of Police (DGP) to Amritsar from Chandigarh to take stock of the situation and give a report to it within 24 hours to initiate action against those responsible for the action on the students.

Sukhbir Badal said that there could be no compromise of people’s sentiments concerning the symbols of national importance and the sanctity of the Golden Temple. He has asked the DGP to submit a report on the incident within 24 hours.

The police action has left the Badal government embarrassed.

The shrine is nearly 500 metres from the Jallianwala Bagh which witnessed the massacre of hundreds of unarmed Indians, including women and children, by British forces who fired several rounds on people who had gathered for a freedom protest at the venue April 13, 1919.

The unique Bagh is enclosed from all sides by a congested locality of houses and has only a small way of entrance and exit.

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