GST on langar: Protesting activists in Amritsar forcibly lifted after DC order

Seeking exemption of GST for langar at the Golden Temple and other religious places, the activists had launched an indefinite stir near the Golden Temple on Monday.

punjab Updated: Mar 07, 2018 20:44 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Amritsar
GST,Golden temple,Punjab police
Punjab Police detain workers of All India Trinamool Congress and activists of NGOs who were protesting against imposition of GST at Fountain Chowk along the Heritage Street near Golden Temple, on Wednesday. (Sameer Sehgal/HT)

The police forcibly lifted the hunger strike by workers of All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) and other social activists against imposition of GST (Goods and Services Tax) on Wednesday, after Congress MP from Amritsar Gurjit Singh Aujla joined them for half an hour.

Seeking exemption of GST for langar (free community kitchen) at the Golden Temple and other religious places, the workers led by party’s state president Manjit Singh, along with other social crusaders including Manmeet Pal Kaur, president of an NGO, launched an indefinite stir at Fountain Chowk along the Heritage Street near Golden Temple on Monday.

Manjit announced that one worker of the party will remain on hunger strike daily until the government accepts their demand. However, the stir of the party intensified on Tuesday after more organisations joined the protest. Besides, it drew attention of the visitors and devotees who came to pay obeisance at the Golden Temple and they too participated for the cause.

A signature campaign was also launched and supporters of the stir signed on a huge white board put up on one side of the stage.

On third day, MP Gurjit Singh Aujla also joined the stir around 10.50 am. Showing solidarity with the cause of the protesters and cornering the BJP-led Union government on the issue, he sat with the agitators for around 20 minutes.

Meanwwhile, deputy commissioner (DC) Kamaldeep Singh Sangha was also leading a signature campaign under the ‘Beti Bachao-Beti Padhao’ scheme, a few yards away from the dharna stage.

Soon after Aujla left, the DC came to meet the protesters at 11.30 am and asked them to lift the protest citing that they did not have the permission of undertaking the strike at the spot. However, the protesters refused to do so.

The DC then ordered the police to lift the protesters. On his order, assistant commissioner of police (ACP-central) Narinder Singh and station house officer (SHO) of Kotwali Police Station Rajwinder Kaur forcibly detained the activists.

Till the filling of this report, five protesters — Manjit Singh, Bhupinder Singh Nagra, Baljit Singh, Kulbir Singh and Manmeet Pal Kaur — were taken into police custody.

SHO Rajwinder Kaur said the fasting activists have been put on preventive detention under Section 107/151 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).

“It was not a place to protest. Only two places n the city, Ranjit Avenue ground and New Amritsar ground, are meant for such activities. The protesters were causing obstacles to the visitors passing from the Heritage Street, so they were detained,” she added.

On the other hand, many attempts were made to contact Aujla, but proved futile.

First Published: Mar 07, 2018 20:36 IST