Congress charges Punjab government of running "goonda raj."

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New Delhi, Sep 21 (UNI) The Congress Party today accused the Shoromani Akali Dal-led government in Punjab of running "goonda raj" as a delegation of local party functionaries and families of victims of "Akali high-handedness and harassment" called on Party President Sonia Gandhi and narrated their woes.

AICC Spokesman Abishek Manu Singhvi, accompanied by Leader of Opposition in Punjab Assembly Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, told mediapersons here that the delegation would place their case before Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Home Minister Shivraj Patil.

''The Akali Dal government has unleashed a rein of lawlessness, terror, callousness and gross harassment,'' Dr Singhvi said, alleging that the ruling dispensation was targetting the Congress supporters and sympathisers.

He said Mr Malkeet Singh the Sarpanch of Village Lehra Dhurkot in Bathinda district, committed suicide because of ''constant and continuous harassment.'' The government had filed several fictitious cases against him under the directions of a relative of a minister in the Prakash Singh Badal government.

Dr Singhvi said Congress supporter Sukhbir Singh (Gurdaspur district) was arrested on flimsy grounds and was found dead in jail later. His body bore many injury marks.

He said the delegation that met Ms Gandhi, had family members of Malkeet Singh and Sukhbir Singh and three others who also died under similar situations in Amritsar, Moga and Jalandhar districts.

The delegation was accompanied by Nathana MLA Ajaib Singh Bhatti, Bathinda DCC President Narinder Singh Bhuleria, Amrtisar DCC President Sukhjinder Raj Singh and Moga DCC President Baldev Singh.

Asked if the Congress Party would demand an investigation by the CBI, Dr Singhvi said a complaint had already been filed at the National Human Rights Commission.

''We hope that the authorities would take corrective steps.

However, we reserve our right to demand other things, including the CBI inquiry.'' UNI

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