Annoyed over criticism of the ruling Akali government, Surat Singh, the sarpanch of Bodawal village in Mansa, allegedly assaulted Dalit leader and Mazdur Mukti Morcha (MMM) state president Bhagwant Smao. The latter had to be hospitalised.Smao was in the village to motivate labourers for the proposed “Lalkar rally” on June 10 against the state government for its alleged failure to meet demands of labourers, including giving possession of five-marla plots and compensation for loss of labour due to the whitefly attack.Singh said Smao was criticising the village panchayat and state government and making false promises to MNREGA labourers.Budhlada SHO Makhan Singh said no case had not been registered against anyone as the victim was unfit to make a statement. “We are investigating into it and will register the case after the victim is stable to give statement to the police,” he said.The police added that during preliminary investigations it was found the Dalit leader was instigating the labourers against the state government. Leaders of the Mazdur Mukti Morcha (MMM), along with the Punjab Kisan Union, would hold a protest rally in Bodawal village on June 4 against the police inaction in the assault case.The union has also announced to hold a rally in Mansa on June 10 against the state government for its failure to meet their demands.Harvinder Sema, district president of the outfit, said there is a rise of intolerance among the ruling Akali government and the sarpanches are acting like goons with the police as mute spectators.“To assemble peacefully is our democratic right. Smao was assaulted with a hovel while he was organising a meeting with workers and labourers. We will hold a protest rally at Bodawal village on June 4 against the government and the police inaction against the Akali sarpanch and his son,” Sema said.Dr Neha Goyal said Smao suffered a head injury and some internal injuries.
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