Jail inmate seeks vote for Congress candidate ahead of zila parishad polls, triggers controversy

The matter, besides triggering a controversy over involvement of anti-social elements in elections, has also raised questions over the security inside the jail.
Amit Parha is lodged in Amritsar jail and recently put up a post on Facebook, urging locals to vote for Bhupinder Kaur Kahlon, the Congress candidate from Gill Block.(HT Photo)
Amit Parha is lodged in Amritsar jail and recently put up a post on Facebook, urging locals to vote for Bhupinder Kaur Kahlon, the Congress candidate from Gill Block.(HT Photo)
Updated on Sep 18, 2018 09:35 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, Ludhiana | By Mohit Khanna

With campaigning for the upcoming zila parishad and panchayat elections picking up steam, it seems that besides politicians and their supporters, even criminals sitting inside the jail have become active.

In a controversial development, Amit Parha, a resident of Ambedkar Nagar and a criminal lodged in Amritsar jail in a kidnapping case, recently put up a social media post, urging locals to vote for Bhupinder Kaur Kahlon, the Congress candidate from Gill Block. In the post made on September 13, Parha wrote, put up the party’s poster along with note seeking votes for the candidate. His profile picture, which was also updated on the same day, shows him brandishing a firearm.

The matter, besides triggering a controversy over involvement of anti-social elements in elections, has also raised questions over the security inside the jail.

Wasting no time, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) attacked the Congress, saying that the grand old party was bringing in anti-social elements in the elections. Former minister and SAD spokesperson Mahish Inder Singh Grewal said, “The person in question is facing serious charges. The fact that he is campaigning for the Congress reflects on the party’s character and mentality. The Congress is out to disrupt the peaceful environment and communal harmony in the state, which Akalis have achieved after making countless sacrifices.”

The Congress, meanwhile, is trying to distance itself from the controversy. Congress spokesperson Raman Subramaniam said, “It appears to be a local issue. We are not going soft on criminals or anti-social elements. If the SAD has a problem, then they should report the matter to the police.”

Meanwhile, Vinod Kumar, the station house officer of Model Town police station under whose jurisdiction the accused resides, said they are probing as to how Parha got access to the weapon. He added that action will also be taken against the person, whose weapon Parha is seen holding.

When contacted, Amritsar jail superintendent Arshdeep Singh confirmed that Amit Parha was booked by Doraha police in 2013 in a kidnapping case. Besides, Dugri police has also booked him in a murder case. He is currently undergoing the jail term in the murder case. “Soon after receiving the information, we carried out search in the barracks. We could not locate the mobile phone. It is suspected that someone else may be operating his Facebook account.”

The cyber crime wing of Punjab police has been trawling popular social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, to zero in on persons posing with guns.

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