The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Friday burnt effigies and raised slogans against the Congress government in protests across Punjab after its legislator Amarjit Singh Sandoa was allegedly attacked by members of a sand mining mafia in Rupnagar district. Sandoa was attacked with iron rods and wooden planks while he was on a visit to the state to verify the reports of illegal sand mining in Beinhara village.
The attack also comes three days after alleged members of a sand mining mafia attacked six forest department officers in Punjab's Mohali district, grievously injuring two of them.
A party delegation led by Sukhpal Singh Khaira met Punjab Governor VP Singh Badnore in Chandigarh, over the attack on Sandoa and the illegal sand mining. AAP workers held demonstrations at various places across the state including Rupnagar, Amritsar, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Fatehgarh Sahib and Moga.
Senior AAP leader Kanwar Sandhu later said the governor assured the party of "action and intervention".
Condemning the attack on the Rupnagar MLA, the opposition party alleged that the mining mafia continued to flourish under the present regime. "During the past ten years, the mining mafia flourished under the SAD-BJP rule. Unfortunately, things have not changed even now and this mafia continues to flourish under the present Congress regime too," Khaira said. "Illegal mining cannot operate without political patronage, this has to end," he added.
The Aam Aadmi Party also demanded a special session of the Punjab Assembly in order to discuss burning issues. "We demand a special session on various issues including illegal mining, mafia raj, attack on legislators and officials by the mafia, incidents of farmers' suicides, falling standard of education, problem of unemployment, pollution of river waters, among other issues," Khaira said.
He rubbished charges by the Shiromani Akali Dal that Sandoa's attackers were actually AAP supporters who were protesting extortions by the Rupnagar legislator. "These are baseless charges, bereft of facts and without any evidence," Khaira said.
Sandoa's personal security officer, Head Constable Sukhdeep Singh, was also injured in the attack, a video of which surfaced on social media.
Rupnagar police have arrested three men in connection with the case and a hunt to nab the remaining two accused is underway.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has sought a detailed report from the Rupnagar deputy commissioner as opposition parties expressed outrage over the attack.
(With PTI inputs)