Amid a protest by Punjab Congress chief Partap Singh Bajwa, who visited here to meet the activists of the Punjab Students Union in jail, the police on Thursday announced to drop the attempt-to-murder charges against the protesters.
Bajwa wanted to meet the protesters, but was stopped by the police at the main gate of the jail. Following this, Bajwa staged a protest there.
Addressing a gathering, Bajwa said, "The government has different rules for different people. I represent one of the largest political parties in opposition, but was not allowed to meet the protesters; even the parents of these protesters are with me. On the other hand, two independent MLAs from Ludhiana were recently allowed to meet the protesters."
But the jail authorities said they had been issued notices after they had allowed the Ludhiana MLAs to meet the protesters. Only relatives were allowed to meet those in judicial custody, the officials said.
Bajwa said the sentiments of the student unionists might be hurt after the Moga incident and they might have damaged the bus, but booking them under Section 307 (attempt to murder) of the IPC was not justified.
He said, "The protesters have been booked under the attempt-to-murder section by the police to send a message to others that if they tried to damage the buses owned by the Badal family, they would have to face at least attempt-to-murder charges. There are two types of rules -- one for the influential and the other for the common man."
Bajwa said, "We want the police to cancel the case registered against the protesters, and their immediate and unconditional release. The police did not spare even the 13-year-old boy and his 80-year-old grandmother, who were also booked under the same sections. We will gherao the office of the SSP and deputy commissioner on May 18."
Meanwhile, DSP Vishaljeet Singh conveyed to Bajwa that the police had decided to drop Section 307 of the IPC against the protesters booked in the bus incident. The other sections of the IPC would stand, though.
The Faridkot police had booked around 45 people, including women and a minor, on May 6 after the protesters had damaged the bus of New Deep bus service. Twelve of them, including a girl, were arrested from the spot and are now in judicial custody.