In a midnight hearing, the Punjab and Haryana High Court directed the Punjab Police chief and SSP Patiala to “personally ensure” safe exit and adequate security to a group of 15 BJP leaders who were allegedly “illegally detained” in a house in Rajpura for nearly 12 hours by protesting farmers.
Scores of farmers had Sunday laid siege to a BJP worker’s house where several leaders including Punjab unit general secretary Subhash Sharma and Patiala incharge Bhupesh Aggarwal had gathered after the protesters disrupted their meeting.
The urgent petition was filed by Berjeshwar Jaswal and 14 others through Advocate Anil Mehta pleading for immediate directions to ensure their safety. They alleged that they were illegally detained by a mob. Advocate Jagjot Singh Laali, one of the lawyers, said the habeas corpus petition was filed around 11 pm and a bench of Justice Suvir Sehgal took up the matter for hearing through video conferencing around 11.30 pm.
A habeas corpus petition is filed for producing before a court a person who is under arrest or in unlawful detention.
Keeping in view the urgency of the situation, Justice Sehgal ordered to serve the notice upon respondents through the Advocate General, Punjab and through the Additional Solicitor General of India, telephonically. A copy of the petition was also ordered to be sent to both of them by e-mail.
The court ordered Punjab DGP and Patiala SSP to personally ensure the petitioners are provided a safe exit with adequate security and that no harm is caused to them. The court also asked for a report to be submitted before it by Monday 2 pm.
During the hearing on Monday, the court was informed that two FIRs have been registered in the case — one with regard to the alleged confinement of petitioners in a house in Guru Arjun Dev colony, and the other over the alleged manhandling of some BJP leaders near a grain market in Rajpura.
Patiala DSP (Rajpura Rural) Jaswinder Singh said the BJP leaders were taken out of the house around 4 am. The DSP, in an affidavit, added that about 500 policemen, including 260 from the armed reserve police, were deployed to provide security cover to the BJP leaders.
Meanwhile, the BJP senior state leadership Monday staged a protest against Chief Minister Amarinder Singh accusing him of remaining silent while opposition leaders were being attacked across the state by farmers.
While the party workers held protests in Ludhiana, Fazilka, Mansa, Amritsar and Gurdaspur, a group of BJP leaders led by state unit chief Ashwani Sharma sat outside the official residence of CM and raised slogans against the Congress regime over the alleged deteriorating law and order situation. They also accused workers of the ruling party of attacking them “under the guise of farmers”.
Sharma, however, mellowed down after CM met a delagtion led by him and assured them of action.
“We expressed fears regarding the safety of our party workers and leaders. We have informed the CM of the recent attacks. Capt Amarinder heard our grievances patiently. The talks were held in cordial atmosphere. We are hopeful that the manner in which he has heard us out, some positive action will be taken and the law and order situation will improve,” said Sharma after the meeting.
Earlier, while addressing party leaders outside the CM’s residence, Sharma said that the dharna was being held to remind “Capt Amarinder Singh of the his duties as the CM that he has forgotten”. He was accompanied by other senior leaders of the party including Surjit Kumar Jyani, Harjeet Singh Grewal and Manoranjan Kalia.
Sharma said that BJP workers had the constitutional right to hold party programmes and meetings. “The state government cannot give security to the BJP leaders who attend these events. I will not call the attackers as farmers. These are goons who are going around in the garb of farmers and are spreading hate,” he said.
The BJP leaders had earlier scheduled a meeting with DGP Dinkar Gupta but, at the last minute, changed the plan and held the protest outside the CM’s house.
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