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Sunday, May 20, 2007

Punjab The Latest as it comes

ASI beaten up in front of Akal Takht
Tribune lensman among 3 mediapersons injured

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 20

Sikh youths severely beat up an Assistant Sub-Inspector when his revolver fell down in front of Akal Takht, here today. Mediapersons, especially photographers, also earned the wrath of the agitated Sikh youths when they tried to click pictures. The incident occurred when the Sikh clergy was holding a meeting at Akal Takht Secretariat.
Senior journalist Narinder Sharma, who had been covering Amritsar for the past 25 years said that such an unsavoury incident had not occurred even during the peak of militancy. Except for the killing of a DIG before Operation Blue Star, nobody had ever beaten up a police official or mediaperson earlier.
The youths were protesting as to how a police official was allowed to enter the Darbar Sahib complex with a service revolver when the Task Force of the SGPC had been stopping Sikhs from entering the complex with weapons.
As usual, a large number of policemen in mufti had been posted in the Darbar Sahib complex to keep watch on the situation. The police had taken elaborate precautionary measures outside the complex.
Interestingly, a SSP was also standing along with the ASI when he was beaten up. The incident occurred when a large number of devotees had gathered at Akal Takht awaiting the decision of the Sikh clergy.
The Tribune lensman Rajiv Sharma was among three mediapersons who sustained minor injuries in the melee. Other photographers who sustained injuries included Narinder Nannu, a photographer of AFP, Manish Sharma of Reuters.
Later, Manjit Singh Bhoma, president, All-India Sikh Students Federation, apologised to the media for the unsavoury situation. However, he said that the media should also honour the feelings of the Sikh Sangat and restrain from projecting the Sikh agitation against the Dera Sacha Sauda.
Though a speaker called for boycotting a section of the electronic media for presenting a wrong picture of the agitation by the Sikhs, yet many persons from the congregation stood to oppose the move.

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