The situation of Ludhiana’s Malerkotla area was tense on June 26 when the property of a Punjab assembly legislator was damaged by a mob.
The group that damaged Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader and chief parliamentary secretary Farzana Nissara Khatoon’s property wanted to complain about someone “tearing” the pages of the Quran in the area.
The tension started on June 24 at around 10 pm, when news spread that torn pages of the Quran were found near Jarg Chowk of Malerkotla.
According to reports, at around 1 am on June 25 a group tried to approach Khatoon, who lives on Ludhiana-Malerkotla road, but were reportedly turned away thus further escalating the tense situation.
MLA Farzana Nissara Khatoon (C) with her supporters. Hindustan Times
The MLA’s security reportedly fired in the air in self-defence, which turned the mob violent and they started to attack the security and police personnel present there.
According to Hindustan Times, the mob was armed.
They also damaged MLA Khatoon’s vehicles that were parked there and smashed several tables and chairs. A private bus was set on fire too.
A torched bus at the Malerkotla bus station. Indian Express
ADGP (Law and Order) H.S. Dhillon visited the spot. The police booked over 250 people on attempt to murder charges.
The police claim that no one was injured due to the firing, though the incident left two civilians and six police personnel severely injured.
The incident has left the city tense, though at present the situation is said to be under control.
A burnt bus at the bus station. Tribune photo
The police have also clarified that they have lodged three separate FIRs: one is regarding the alleged desecration of the Quran; second against those who attacked the police; and third is against those who damaged property.
Her husband Mohd Izhar Alam, who is a former Punjab Police DGP (prisons), alleges that “a local Congress leader” was behind the violence.