NEW DELHI, India— Riot police firing tear gas and swinging clubs Thursday arrested more than 15,000 demonstrators trying to storm Parliament to protest a Sikh government agreement. At least 12 officers were reported wounded.

The demonstration was sparked by outrage over a July 24 agreement between Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and Sikhs in the strife torn northern state of Punjab. Militants in Punjab have waged a bloody battle for autonomy for four years.

More than 15,000 protesters tried to storm the parliament building in central New Delhi and briefly broke through a police Cordon, security officials said. Demonstrators damaged 10 state-owned buses before rioting police Regained control, they said.

Police used clubs and tear gas to disperse the protestors, officials said.

The Press Trust of India news agency said 12 policemen, including two senior officers, were wounded.

Once the demonstration was under control, police arrested the protestors and deployed 250 public outskirts of the city, officials said.

More than 20,000 Hindus from Haryana converged on New Delhi Thursday, responding to a call by Haryana branch of the Lok Dal Party, which has spearheaded a campaign against the agreement.

The protestors assembled along the wide parade route between the president’s official resident and the India Gate arch in central New Delhi, shouting slogans against the agreement.

The agreement stemmed from four years of violent Sikh agitation for greater autonomy that culminated in the murder of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on Oct. 31, 1984, by one of her bodyguards.

Immediately after his election as Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi, Indira’s son, promised to give top priority to the Punjab problem.

Under the agreement, the disputed city of Chandigarh, 150 miles north of New Delhi, became part of Punjab, the only state in India where Sikhs are a majority. The city formerly was a joint capital of both states.

Article extracted from this publication >>  December 27, 1985