Tribune News Service
Panipat, November 22
The body of former Panipat councillor Harish Sharma was fished out from the Delhi Parallel Canal by an NDRF team on Sunday following which hundreds of protesters blocked the national highway (NH-44), demanding that criminal cases be filed against police officials, including Panipat SP Manisha Chaudhary, for allegedly driving Sharma to “take the extreme step”. The traffic, held up for at least three hours, was finally cleared at 8 pm.
Stuck in the jam on the elevated flyover, harried commuters alleged that the police did nothing to lift the blockade. It was a two-hour ordeal for truck driver Mohanjeet Singh of Ludhiana, who was on his way to Surat in Gujarat. “The police could have opened alternate routes to allow the traffic to flow,” he remarked angrily. Delhi resident Vikas Kumar, who was on his way to Chandigarh with his family, accused the police administration of “total failure”. As soon as the body of the former councillor was brought home at 5 pm after a postmortem examination at the General Hospital in Sonepat, the family members of the deceased and hundreds of residents gathered near the Tehsil Camp turn on NH-44, bringing the traffic to a halt. The cops on duty tried to divert the traffic through the flyover, but were obstructed by the protesters, who arrived there in large numbers.
Refusing to budge and raising anti-police slogans, they demanded that the ‘guilty’ officials, including the Panipat SP, a DSP and ASI Mahavir Singh, be booked immediately. The protesters, who later gathered near the underpass, were lathi-charged by the police. Several of them were injured.
The former councillor is believed to have jumped into the canal on Thursday morning. His family alleged that he was being harassed by the police.