Ferozepur/Abohar, February 9
Protesters today attacked the vehicle of state BJP chief Ashwani Sharma, who had come to meet party workers in connection with the upcoming civic body elections in the border town of Ferozepur.
Keeping in view the recent attacks on BJP leaders, special security arrangements had been made by the police at the venue on the outskirts of the city.
At least three SP-rank officers and four DSPs along with a large number of personnel were deployed to avert any untoward incident. The venue, a marriage place, was also barricaded. However, all efforts proved futile as the mob heckled the BJP leaders.
Earlier, farmers belonging to various unions reached the venue and started raising slogans against the BJP-led central government. They also tried to enter the venue.
However, farmers failed in their attempt as the police resorted to a mild lathicharge to bring the situation under control. After the meeting, as Sharma got into his vehicle to leave, a few unidentified persons attacked it with clubs and rods, before fleeing the spot. Farmer leaders said they had only come to protest and not to hurt anyone.
“We had come here to register our protest against the farm laws. None of us wanted to hurt him. The attackers are not farmers. It seems the attack was pre-planned by anti-social elements,” they said.
On his part, Sharma said: “It seems a few people wanted to take advantage of the situation on the pretext of the farmers’ agitation. However, they will not succeed in their sinister designs.”
Following the attack, the state BJP chief sat on a dharna outside the Deputy Commissioner’s residence, demanding action against the culprits. The BJP workers also blocked the highway. The dharna was lifted after the DC assured them of investigating the matter and initiating action against the miscreants.
In Abohar, Sharma faced a protest by semi-clad farmers as he arrived for a meeting with party candidates.
In the wake of similar protests over the past few weeks, 200 police personnel from different police stations were deployed even as SSP Harjit Singh, SPs Avneet Kaur Sidhu and Jagdish Bishnoi, and DSPs Rahul Bhardwaj and Ashok Kumar monitored the security arrangements.
The venue where Sharma was to hold the maiden meeting with party candidates and office-bearers was cordoned off. However, farmers gathered outside Nehru Park and started raising slogans. They damaged barricades on the road but were pushed back by the police as they tried to enter the venue. Sharma was escorted inside the venue under a tight security cover.