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HindustanTimes Fri,18 Apr 2014

Jobless linemen's protest: Two on hunger strike in jail hospitalised

HT Correspondent  Faridkot, February 02, 2013
First Published: 20:33 IST(2/2/2013) | Last Updated: 20:38 IST(2/2/2013)

Kirandeep Kaur, wife of unemployed lineman Gurmail Singh, a resident of Tahlian Wala in Mansa district, and Hartesh Kumar, also a jobless lineman, from Ferozepur district were admitted to the local civil hospital on Friday night after their condition deteriorated in the Modern Jail where there are on hunger strike since January 28.

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"Two protesters were admitted to the hospital after their health deteriorated and the sugar level ran low, but now they have recovered well and are in a good health," said a senior doctor at the civil hospital.

On January 13, the Muktsar police had registered a case against 57 unemployed linemen and their families under Sections 323, 353, 186, 160 and148 of the IPC when they allegedly tried to disrupt a rally at the Maghi Mela. Among those arrested include two elders, 32 unemployed linemen and 24 women who are either wives or mothers of the protesters. Their judicial remand had been extended to February 11.

Two children were also moved to the Faridkot Modern Jail as their parents were in the prison. Shivraj Singh, 18-month-old son of Manpreet Singh was housed in the jail because his parents were there. The judicial custody of her parents also made authorities shift Harsirat Kaur (6) to the jail.

"The government had last year advertised 5,000 posts of linemen in the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL), but after completing all formalities, joining letters were issued to 1,000. Since then we have been protesting against the government," said Harpreet Singh from Madak, who claims to be the district president of the Unemployed Linemen Union, Faridkot.

The case regarding the appointment of linemen reached the Punjab and Haryana high court and Supreme Court, but the department concerned did not follow up the case properly, which led to stalling of other appointments, Harpreet Singh alleged.

"We shall continue our protest and hold a rally at Patiala next month and want the government to find solution to our problems. Our family members will also continue the protest inside the jail. After the hospitalisation of two protesters, two other members of the union have gone on hunger strike," Harpreet said.

The unemployed linemen also held a peaceful protest outside the civil hospital on Saturday.

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