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Monday, June 21, 2021

After anti-govt protests, Punjab Oppn leaders booked for defying Covid curbs

The cases were filed after Punjab CM Amarinder Singh directed DGP Dinkar Gupta to proceed as per law against leaders violating strict Covid curbs currently in place across the state.

By: Express News Service | Chandigarh |
June 8, 2021 4:48:37 am
SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal at a dharna near the residence of Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu, in Mohali on Monday. (Photo: Jasbir Malhi)

Top leaders of the Akali Dal and the Aam Aadmi Party were booked Monday under the Disaster Management Act and relevant sections of the IPC over their protests against the alleged vaccine scam in the state. The cases were filed after Punjab CM Amarinder Singh directed DGP Dinkar Gupta to proceed as per law against leaders violating strict Covid curbs currently in place across the state.

While AAP had protested near Health Minister Balbir Sidhu’s house on Sunday, the Akali Dal staged a sit-in outside the minister’s Mohali residence on Monday.

In the evening, SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal was booked along with other party leaders for violating curfew guidelines.

A case was registered under Section 51-A of the Disaster Management Act along with IPC sections 188 (disobedience to orders duly promulgated by a civil servant), 269 (whoever unlawfully or negligently does any act which is, and which he knows or has reason to believe to be, likely to spread the infection of any disease dangerous to life) and 270 (whoever malignantly does any act which is, and which he knows or has reason to believe to be, likely to spread the infection of any disease dangerous to life).

Others SAD leaders who were booked included former MPs Prem Singh Chandumajra, Sharanjeet Singh Dhillon, and MLAs N K Sharma and Daljit Singh Cheema.

The FIR also named SAD leaders Janmeja Singh Sekhon, Ranjit Singh Dhillon, Pawan kumar Tinu, Dr Sukhwinder Singh Sukhi, Sohan Singh Thandal, Gurbachan Singh Babehali, Baldev Singh, Hira Singh Gabria, Virsa Singh Valtoha, Surjeet Singh Rakhra, Gurpartap Singh Vadala, Lakhwinder Singh Lodhi, Charanjit Singh Brar, Harcharan Singh Longowal, Hardev Singh Noni maan, Sarabjit Singh Makkar, Harmanpreet Singh Prince, Simranjeet Singh Chandumajra, Rozi Barkandi, Banti Romana and Ranjeet Singh Gill.

Similar action was initiated against senior AAP leaders as well including party’s Deputy Leader in the Assembly Sarbjeet Kaur Manuke.

The FIR against AAP leaders stated that during their protest rally gathering was around 150 people, which was in violation of District Magistrate’s orders regarding Covid-19 guidelines.

Those booked for AAP’s Sunday protest also included Ropar MLA Amarjeet Singh Sandhoa, Garshankar MLA Jai Krishan Rory, youth wing president Anmol Gagan Mann, Mohali district incharge Gurwinder Mittal, district secretary Prabhjot Kaur, district president of party’s youth wing Gurtej Pannu, and others.

The FIR, based on complaint of district magistrate Hiten Kapila, was registered under Sections 186, 188, 269 IPC and Section 51-A of the Disaster Management Act.

Earlier in the day, the CM called protests by Shiromani Akali (SAD) and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) as “irresponsible” and in “utter violation” of Covid guidelines. “At a time when people could not gather even for weddings and funerals, leaders and workers of these parties were behaving in a reckless manner, showing no concern for the safety and health of Punjabis,” he said.

He further said that a dharna organised by AAP Sunday was a violation of the weekend curfew in place in the state. Such dharnas and political gatherings are potential super-spreaders and have to be firmly tackled, he said.

Amarinder added that this is not the time to play political games and indulge in dirty politicking but to come together to fight the pandemic to the finish.

Before he had imposed Covid restrictions in light of the second wave, the CM had announced that the ruling Congress will not hold any political gatherings in Punjab.

SAD’s sit-in protest, meanwhile, was led by party president Sukhbir Singh Badal. The party, during its protest, demanded registration of murder case against Punjab Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu.

Sukhbir alleged that the state government wanted to give profit to the private players and there must be a thorough probe into the alleged vaccine scam. “Playing with the lives of people is a sin and the case should be registered against the culprits,” he said.

Former Anandpur Sahib MP Prem Singh Chandumajra said that the Health Minister had kept the people in dark.

SAD workers had held the protest in a tent in Mohali’s Phase VII after the police stopped their entry to Sidhu’s residence.

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