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Phagwara tension: Day after arrest, police exonerate Dalit leader in assault case

Phagwara, May 2: A day after arresting a Dalit leader in an assault case in the wake of the tension over renaming of a roundabout in Phgawara, police on Tuesday in their application filed in a local court exonerated him of any charge, claiming the complainant changed his statement.

The court of sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) discharged Ambedkar Sena (Mool Niwasi) president Harbhajan Suman who along with three others was accused of assaulting a local resident, Pawan Kumar, at his house on Sunday.

A case was registered against Suman, Rohit, Bobby among others under Sections 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 452 (trespass after preparation for hurt) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) on Sunday.

“The complainant on Tuesday told the police that Suman was not involved in the assault and three others beat him up,” senior superintendent of police (SSP) Sandeep Kumar Sharma said.

Tension gripped the town on Monday again after the police arrested Suman. This came a day after a Dalit teenager shot in a clash between Dalit groups and “upper caste” Hindu right-wing groups on April 13 succumbed to injuries.

After the news of Suman’s arrest in the evening, members of the Dalit community gathered at Plahi Road demanding his immediate release. Supported by Pendu Mazdoor (rural workers) Union members, the protesters laid siege to superintendent of police (SP) Parminder Singh’s office.

Members of the General Samaj Manch accused the police of working under political pressure and not taking action against members of the Dalit community for the April 13 night clash.

“It clearly shows that the police are under political pressure. First, they have not arrested any Dalit in the clash but arrested four right-wing leaders the next day for the clash. Now, they discharged Suman a day after his arrest as the Dalit community demanded his release,” General Samaj Manch president Vijay Sharma said.

He said they will approach the authorities against the local police.

Suman was also named as an accused in the April 14 FIR in which around 100 people, including 33 by name, were booked for attempt to murder and hurting religious sentiments besides other sections of the Indian Penal Code, Arms Act, and the National Highways Act.

The April 13 clash had taken place after the Dalit groups sought to name a chowk after Dalit icon BR Ambedkar with some right-wing organisations protesting against the move.

Source: www.hindustantimes.com

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