Twenty-four women belonging to families of unemployed linemen were released from Modern Jail, Faridkot, after 22 days on Wednesday. They were arrested along with male members of the linemen union at Maghi Mela in Muktsar on January 13.
The Muktsar police had arrested 57 people, including 24 women, who were lodged in the Faridkot jail.
The women were released after the Muktsar police completed all legal formalities and presented them in a Muktsar court. They raised slogans against the state government on the premises of the Faridkot jail after their release.
Two of the women who were on a hunger strike in the jail also ended their fast after coming out the jail. Faridkot tehsildar Harsimran Singh offered them juice.
It was an emotional moment for Ompreet Singh from Kotkapura when he met his five-year-old niece, Harsirat Kaur, who was in the jail all these days as her parents were lodged there. He emotionally hugged the child and she was heard whispering into his ear: "Chachi ni aai? (Why the aunt did not come?)."
"Though the girl's mother Amandeep Kaur has been released, her father Harpreet Singh is still in the jail," said Ompreet Singh.
Ompreet, a graduate who holds two-year diploma in arts and crafts, is unemployed and is working as a milkman. "I completed the diploma in 2010, but unable to find a job I am working as a milkman. My father also works as a mikman," said Ompreet, adding that the government must think about the unemployed and provide job avenues to them.
An 18-month-old, Shivraj Singh, also came out of the jail with his mother. The police had booked 57 people, including 24 women, either wives or mothers of unemployed linemen, who were demanding jobs.
The union members had claimed that, 5,000 posts of linemen were advertised in January 2011 but after completing all formalities only 1,000 of them were filled. The 4,000 posts were not filled and they had been protesting to get these filled. The case is also pending in the apex court.
The union activists alleged that the government was following their case in the court sincerely.
Thirty-three male members of the union are still in the jail and they may be released by police in days to come. The police have discharged them of the offence under which they were booked.