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Panel to probe clash between rival factions of HP Cong

A day after supporters of former chief minister Virbhadra Singh and former Himachal Congress chief Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu clashed here, the party Friday constituted a two-member committee to probe the incident.

Talking to media persons at the Congress Bhawan here, Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee (HPCC) president Kuldeep Singh Rathore said the panel would submit its report within 15 days.

"A two-member impartial, high-power committee comprising advocates Nareshwar Singh Chandel and Rupinder Singh Thakur has been constituted to look into the the clash and submit a report within 15 days," he said.

The HPCC chief also directed officials to supply all relevant records to the panel including the video clipping of Thursday's scuffle at the headquarters of the party's Himachal Pradesh unit shortly after he took charge as the new state-level president.

Terming the incident as unfortunate, Rathore reiterated that indiscipline in the party would not be tolerated at any cost and stern action would be taken against the guilty.

Earlier, in their statements issued to the media, three HPCC secretaries Mahesh Sharma, Manjeet Thakur and Pradeep Verma had demanded action against the supporters of Virbhadra Singh accusing them of provoking the other side and initiating the brawl.

This is not for the first time that Virbhadra Singh's supporters have resorted to such tactics as they had earlier misbehaved with senior party leaders including Anand Sharma, Vidya Stokes and Kaul Singh Thakur, the trio alleged further.

There was no immediate comment from the former chief minister's faction.

Meanwhile, none of the five Congress workers booked for allegedly attacking Rajeev Rana, a Sukhu supporter, have been arrested yet, Shimla deputy superintendent of police Pramod Shukla said.

A case was registered at the Sadar Police Station against Virbhadra supporters-- Mohinder Stan, Vinod Zinta, Deepak Khurana, Ved Prakash, Virender Wanstu and others on Rana's complaint.

"Rana is unable to talk to the police as he is undergoing treatment for his head injury. Though, FIR was lodged on his complaint, the police require some more information from him before making arrests," the DSP told PTI.

Meanwhile, Himachal Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief spokesperson Randhir Sharma alleged that the Congress had become synonymous with "indiscipline and hooliganism".