In a controversial preventive action taken by the Kapurthala police in Bholath assembly constituency, represented by Shiromani Akali Dal MLA Bibi Jagir Kaur, 12 Congress workers, feared to be a “threat to peace during election time”, were booked recently,.
As per the police complaint ( kalendra) filed by Begowal station house officer (SHO) Surinder Singh on March 28, a case was slapped on the Congress workers under sections 107 and 150 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), both related to action fearing disruption of peace.
Notably, the Congressmen were booked after the SHO, without receiving any complaint from a third party, himself submitted one at the local subdivisional magistrate’s (SDM’s) court.
Those who have been booked include retired teacher Balkar Singh, a resident of Begowal; Cong ress councillor from Begowal Shri Niwas; block Congress president, Bholath, Shamsher Singh; former Begowal sarpanch Baldev Singh; former Maksoodpur sarpanch Harjit Singh; Bharas village numberdar Malkiat Singh; and Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee secretary Rashpal Singh Bachhajivi.
As per the complaint filed by the SHO, all 12 will have fill a surety bond of ` 1 lakh each in the SDM’s court so as to avoid arrest.
“We have been told by the police to join Bibi Jagir Kaur or remain silent during the polls, failing which we would face action,” said Rashpal Singh.
Upset at the police action, the Congress has approached the state electoral office, demanding action, particularly the SHO’s transfer.
“It’s a weird police action aimed at snubbing Congressmen. None of the 12 has been involved in any election-related offence. The police should arrest Jagir Kaur, who is an ‘established’ criminal.
She is the real threat for the polls,” said Sukhpal Khaira, Congress incharge from Bholath constituency and state party spokesman.
Begowal SHO Surinder Singh, when contacted by HT on the phone, said all 12 had been booked to maintain law and order. He claimed that most of these leaders had been involved in disruption of polls in the past as well. But when asked to specify any record, the SHO disconnected the call.
Kapurthala senior superintendent of police Inderbir Singh refused to comment on the issue.
“Generally, such action is taken by the police to ensure peace. But I am not aware of such action by the Begowal SHO. Only after looking into the complaint will I be able to comment,” he said.