Members of the unemployed linemen union, who were sitting on a dharna for the past 20 days to demand jobs, had to face the wrath of the police when they were taken into “preventive arrest” outside the main gate of the Punjab State Power Corporation Ltd (PSPCL) office in the wee hours of Saturday.
As many as 116 linemen and their families were “arrested” by more than 500 policemen at around 3.50am while they are sleeping on the dharna venue outside the PSPCL office main gate. They were allegedly forcibly put into police buses.
While the unemployed linemen were sent to different jails in Patiala, Rupnagar and Sangrur, their parents and children were released by the police in far-off villages of Patiala and Sangrur.
The police party led by SP (city) Daljeet Rana and Patiala SDM Gurpal Singh Chahal led the operation and arrested the linemen under Sections 107/51 of the IPC. Those who opposed the arrest had to face the anguish of the policemen, said sources.
Confirming the arrests, the Patiala SDM stated that the action was taken as Section 144 has come into force in the entire state with the declaration of the panchayat polls, which are slated for July 3.
“Moreover, the chief minister has promised to the lineman union to look into their demands. The continuous dharna before the PSPCL office can spoil the peace of the area during the panchayat polls,” he said.
Meanwhile, the union alleged that the police beat them up and misbehaved with the family members and children of the unemployed linemen. “It seems that there is no law of land. Women were beaten up mercilessly and the police even did not spare children. It's the fascist face of the SAD government as we are not even allowed to raise our demands peacefully,” said union president Pirmal Singh.