Police using water cannons against Shiromani Akali Dal workers during a protest march in Chandigarh  on Monday. (Keshav Singh/HT)
Police using water cannons against Shiromani Akali Dal workers during a protest march in Chandigarh  on Monday. (Keshav Singh/HT)

SAD workers marching to gherao Punjab Vidhan Sabha face water cannons

Core committee members court arrest against ‘use of force’ by cops; Sukhbir announces ‘lok lehar’ protest rallies in state’s all segments from March 12
PUBLISHED ON MAR 02, 2021 02:38 AM IST

The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leaders and workers trying to break the barricades during a march to gherao the Punjab Vidhan Sabha complex in Chandigarh on Tuesday faced water cannons while the party’s core committee members courted arrest.

Tension prevailed outside the Sector 25 rally ground when the SAD workers broke the first barricading put by the Chandigarh Police to stop them from entering the inner city areas.

Before using water cannons to stop the agitating workers, the police announced that their entry in the city is not allowed as Section 144 (banning assembly of four or more persons) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) had been imposed.

The activists didn’t relent and kept on trying to get past the barricades with police resorting to a mild canecharge. The cops used water cannons for at least 15 minutes to disperse the protesters who were seen throwing water bottles and shoes at the police vehicles.

To protest the police’s move, senior leaders led by the party chief Sukhbir Singh Badal courted arrest. Addressing the protesters, Sukhbir said the Centre and the Punjab government had joined hands to use force against their workers. The detained leaders were taken to different police stations and were released after a few hours.

Earlier, addressing the workers at the rally ground, Sukhbir asked chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh to explain as why he betrayed every section of society by failing to implement even one of the pre-promises.

He announced to hold a “lok lehar’ protest rallies against the Congress government in Punjab from March 12 in all constituencies of the state. “Once voted to power, the SAD will not implement the three agriculture laws in Punjab. Also, we will reduce electricity tariffs in cities by half, give free education to scheduled caste/backward class (SC/BC) students, provide minimum support price (MSP) on vegetables and fruits and ensure cemented roads, drains and potable water in all 12,000 villages of the state,” he said.

He slammed the CM for “not only insulting the people but also the holy Gutka Sahib by taking a false oath promising a complete farm loan waiver after coming to power”. “Other promises like eradicating drugs within four weeks, ensuring jobs to each household, giving unemployment allowance of 2,500 to youth, increasing monthly old age pension to 2,500 besides providing free housing to the homeless still remain a pipedream,” he added.

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