Police use water cannon to disperse protesting AAP workers in Punjab
- AAP MP Bhagwant Mann and MLAs Harpal Singh Cheema, Meet Hayer, Manjit Singh Bilaspur, Kulwant Singh Pandori and Baldev Singh were booked.
Members of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Punjab police clashed outside the farmhouse of Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh in Siswan. The AAP workers were protesting against the frequent power cuts in Punjab. The clash escalated following which police used a water cannon to disperse the AAP workers who were trying to gherao the house of the chief minister.
The police booked 23 AAP leaders for violating Covid-19 protocol. AAP MP Bhagwant Mann and MLAs Harpal Singh Cheema, Meet Hayer, Manjit Singh Bilaspur, Kulwant Singh Pandori and Baldev Singh were booked under IPC section 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) and the Disaster Management Act. These lawmakers were also briefly detained by the police.
The police booked 200 unidentified persons also for violation of Covid-19 preventative measures. The AAP workers led by Mann protested against the Congress government over the power shortage. Police already set up barricades that were put up on the road which led to the chief minister's farmhouse. The protesters broke the first layer of security but were met with water cannons before they approached the second layer.
The protests come at the backdrop of severe power shortage in urban and rural areas which has led to long hours of load shedding amid scorching heat.
Punjab government in order to tackle the power shortage ordered reduction in timings of state government offices. It has also reduced power supply to industries which consume high energy. The government also faced criticism from the opposition as they claimed that the government has also failed to provide sufficient power supply to paddy growers.
The AAP lawmakers said that at ₹10 per unit, rates of electricity were highest in the country. AAP MP Mann said that the chief minister was sleeping while citizens were being forced to sit on a dharna in the scorching heat.