With leaders of Haryana opposition party Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) announcing to restart construction of the controversial Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal on February 23, the Punjab government on Monday invoked Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) to thwart their attempt to cross the state border. Even the Ambala administration has also imposed section 144 CrPC. Section 144 empowers a magistrate to prohibit an assembly of more than four people in an area.
As SYL is an emotional issue in Punjab and Haryana, thus MHA is also keeping a close watch, briefed a senior Punjab official. Any untoward incident can make situation volatile in neighbouring states, thus MHA officials are keeping a constant touch with police higher ups of Punjab and Haryana.
Anticipating heavy turnout of INLD, The Punjab director general of police (DGP) Suresh Arora held meeting at Shambu and assigned duties to officer. A temporary control room has been setup at Shambu by punjab police, which also conducted aerial survey. Nearly 5000 policemen from Punjab have been moved to Patiala and stationed at all entry points.
“No one will be allowed to enter in Punjab. Forces are ready to control any situation. we are hoping that Centre will give us additional forces on Tuesday evening”, said Patiala inspector general of police (IG) B Chander Shekhar.
Patiala deputy commissioner (DC) Ramvir Singh, who passed the orders on Monday, said: “Senior government officials are in touch with their counterparts in Haryana, while the Patiala administration is in constant touch with the Ambala administration. No one will be allowed to enter Punjab.”
The Punjab government has also strengthened security and placed traffic barriers besides deploying extra force in Patiala to prevent disruption to law and order.
“Adequate force has been mobilised... Police will not even allow All India Sikh Students Federation (AISSF) activists to converge at Kapuri (village bordering Haryana where the foundation of the canal was laid) or Shambhu,” said the DC. The AISSF has declared to confront the INLD workers if they enter Punjab.
Patiala senior superintendent of police (SSP) S Bhoopathi said the police has also decided to divert traffic on national highway-1 and other roads leading to Punjab from Haryana. “A detailed security and traffic plan will be issued on February 22,” he added.
DGP draws plan with Patiala senior cops
The decision to invoke Section 144 was taken after Punjab director general of police (DGP, law and order) Hardeep Singh Dhillon met senior cops of Patiala and neighbouring districts at Chandigarh on Monday to devise a plan to check any untoward incident.
Punjab Police have also drawn a joint action plan with their Haryana counterparts, who too have beefed up security at Shambhu Barrier on NH-1 on Punjab-Haryana border. The Haryana government has reportedly decided to invoke Section 144 in Ambala as well.
The INLD has given call to its workers to coverage at the Ambala vegetable market, which is nearly three kilometre from Shambhu Barrier. “Haryana has decided not to allow INLD workers to move from the Ambala vegetable market,” said a Punjab police official.
In Punjab, two SSP-ranked officials will command security at Shambhu Barrier, while the Patiala inspector general of police (IG) B Chander Sekhar will personally monitor the movement of forces to ensure adequate security measures. The IG visited both Shambhu and Kapuri to brief cops deployed there.
“The Union government has confirmed deployment of 20 companies of central forces with 110 personnel each. They will reach here by February 22. Additional force from the Entire Patiala Range Police, which comprises Patiala, Sangrur, SAS Nagar, Fatehgarh Sahib and Rupnagar, has also been mobilised. Nearly 3,000 security personnel will be deputed by February 23. The numbers will be increased further depending upon inputs from our Haryana counterparts,” said a senior police official. Besides barricades, water cannons, tear gas shell firing squad and horse squads have also been shifted to Patiala.