Protest over news channel blackout: Bains, supporters sent to custody

  • Tarsem Singh Deogan, Hindustan Times, Ludhiana
  • Updated: May 11, 2016 19:27 IST
Independent MLA Simarjit Singh Bains being produced in Ludhiana court on Tuesday. (JS Grewal/HT Photo)

Arrested on Monday after a protest against the “suspension of services” of a Punjabi news channel by a cable network operator turned violent, independent MLA Simarjit Singh Bains, his son and his seven supporters were on Monday sent to Ludhiana central jail on 14-day judicial remand.

The police produced the legislator before the court of chief judicial magistrate Jaapinder Singh taking care to evade his supporters. The case is scheduled to be heard next on May 24.

Meanwhile, Bains’ counsel Jagmohan Singh Waraich moved bail pleas for him and his supporters that would be heard on Tuesday.

The MLA’s supporters, who were huddled in the court complex raised slogans against the police and Punjab government as the cops brought the MLA and his supporters to the court amid heavy security arrangements. The supporters hurled abuses at the police for cane charging the protesters on Monday.

The women supporters accused the police of thrashing them brutally.

More than 500 supporters, including women, of Bains had gathered outside the Grand Walk Mall on Ferozepur road on Monday to protest against the Fastway cable network accusing it of suspending services of Zee Punjabi news channel.

The police had arrested Bains, his son Ajaybir Singh, and supporters Baldev Singh, Bhupinder Singh, Gurnam Singh alias Kaku, Arjun Singh Cheema, Kultej Singh and Ranjit Singh.

They were booked under sections 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 334 (voluntarily causing hurt on provocation), 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt), 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions) and 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon) of the Indian Penal Code.

In the court on Tuesday, the police said they had nothing to recover from the accused and requested the court to send them to judicial custody, even as the defence counsel demanded to discharge his clients from the case, stating that the police case did not stand.

The counsel contended that Bains, along with his supporters, was protesting peacefully on the roadside, which was the fundamental right of every citizen. He added that the police had slammed Section 8 of the National Highway Act, which was not appropriate as his clients did not vandalise the national highway.

The MLA’s elder brother Balwinder Singh Bains, who is also a legislator, said the SAD-BJP government wanted to suppress their voice by using force against them. “We will never give up before the atrocities of the state government and will intensify the protest,” he added.

Police stop media from entering open court

A day after an HT scribe was cane-charged by cops during the protest, the police team led by assistant commissioner of police (ACP, west) Rupinder Kaur Saran, stopped mediapersons from entering the open court before Bains was produced.

The public has the right to be admitted to an open court, unless the judge decides against it.

Read: Protests, arrests: Ludhiana’s Bains brothers back with bang

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