The Punjab Assembly on Wednesday witnessed noisy scenes after Congress MLAs stormed the well of the House for being denied a discussion on the law and order situation in the state, while the SAD condemned the invoking of the National Security Act (NSA) against radical preacher Amritpal Singh.
As Question Hour began in the budget session of the Vidhan Sabha here, Leader of Opposition and Congress leader Partap Singh Bajwa asked the Speaker about the adjournment motion on the law and order issue moved by his party.
Speaker Kultar Singh Sandhwan told Bajwa that it has been disallowed. It angered the Congress legislators and they rushed to the well of the House and shouted slogans.
Later during Zero Hour, Shiromani Akali Dal MLA Manpreet Singh Ayali said an “atmosphere of terror” has been created in the state, referring to the police action against Amritpal Singh and members of his outfit ‘Waris Punjab De.
The radical preacher is on the run after police launched a major crackdown against his organisation and arrested a number of his aides.
On Wednesday, police said a team has reached Jallupur Khera, Amritpal Singh’s native village in Amritsar, where they met some of his family members.
Inside the assembly, Congress leader Bajwa termed as “wrong” the Speaker’s decision to disallow the adjournment motion on the law and order issue moved by his party.
Bajwa asked the Chair to give the Congress members some time to speak on the matter, but the Speaker retorted, “I want to say to you that Question Hour is sacrosanct…People of Punjab will not tolerate this. People are watching you.” Trying to corner the government on the Amritpal Singh issue, SAD MLA Ayali alleged that many Sikhs youths are being implicated in “false cases”.
“The NSA which has been invoked I understand is completely wrong,” he said.
If anybody, be it Amritpal Singh or any other person, has done wrong, action should have been taken under the ambit of law, he said.
The state government on Tuesday had informed the Punjab and Haryana High Court that the stringent National Security Act has been invoked against Amritpal Singh.
Ayali also condemned the suspension of mobile internet services in the state in the wake of the police crackdown.
The Punjab government had Tuesday extended the suspension of mobile internet and SMS services in Tarn Taran, Ferozepur, Moga, Sangrur, Ajnala sub-division in Amritsar and a few areas in Mohali till Thursday noon, though curbs were lifted from the rest of the state from Tuesday noon.
Sikhs, who are living in the country and abroad, are concerned over the present situation in Punjab, the SAD legislator said.
Apparently referring to the police crackdown, Ayali said several innocent Sikh youths including in his own assembly segment were nabbed in the past few days.
He demanded that “innocent Sikhs” should be released.
State BJP president and party legislator Ashwani Sharma objected to word “Sikh” being used by SAD MLA Ayali, saying Sikhs are a brave community.
However, he said there should not be any action against innocent persons.
Slamming Amritpal Singh, Sharma said the radical preacher had said that he was not a resident of India and does not believe in the country’s Constitution and the law.
Apparently referring to the police crackdown against the preacher, the BJP legislator from Pathankot also sought information regarding the action taken so far by the government in this matter.
Whatever action the state government is taking, it should be strong, he said.
Amritpal Singh had managed to give police a slip after changing his vehicle on Saturday when police had launched a crackdown against him and his outfit ‘Waris Punjab De’.
Police said efforts are on tracing him and bring him to the book.
A lookout circular and a non-bailable warrant has been issued against the preacher.
“Our efforts are on to arrest him,” said a police officer on Wednesday.
Punjab Police had arrested four people on Tuesday for allegedly helping Amritpal Singh escape their net and released seven photographs of the Khalistan sympathiser, including some in which he is not wearing a turban, to seek public help to nab the fugitive.
In Jallupur Khera village in Amritsar, a police team that included two deputy superintendents of police rank officers met the preacher’s family members.
However, the police did not share the details of the visit.
Inspector General of Police (Headquarters) Sukhchain Singh Gill had earlier said the National Security Act has been invoked against Amritpal Singh and 154 people have been arrested so far as part of the crackdown.
Later, in a statement, Gill had said a lookout circular and a non-bailable warrant has been issued against Amritpal Singh.
He had said the situation is completely peaceful in Punjab and Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann was monitoring the situation and taking regular feedback from police officers.
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(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed)