Saturday, Date: Mar 25, 2023 Time: 7:09 am

High Court issues notice to Punjab govt, other respondents on petition seeking removal of encroachment by protestors

Chandigarh: The Punjab and Haryana High Court today issued notice of motion to the state of Punjab and other respondents on a petition seeking the removal of encroachment by protestors in Mohali. Among other things, the petitioner-organization Arrive Safe Society of Chandigarh contended it has learnt that the protesters were seeking the release of Sikh prisoners, including Balwant Singh Rajoana –– a convict in Punjab’s former chief minister Beant Singh’s assassination case. They also wanted the release of Devinderpal Singh Bhullar –– a 1993 Delhi bomb blast convict.
The petition was placed before the Division Bench of Justice Augustine George Masih and Justice Gurbir Singh this morning. It will now come up for further hearing on March 22 when the Punjab and UT will apprise the Bench on steps initiated, or proposed. The Bench also directed UT to be made a party-respondent.
The NGO, through its president Harman Singh Sidhu, submitted that nobody could be certain when and under what circumstances such a large gathering of persons might turn violent and the protest might take “shape of a lawless mob disturbing peace and harmony of innocent passers-by, those engaged in their daily pursuits or those residing in their property in Mohali and nearby areas”. Describing it as a “crucial issue”, Sidhu added it required the high court’s timely intervention “at a pre-emptive stage”.
Sidhu added it had been reported in newspapers that a clash broke out between protesters seeking the release of Sikh prisoners or the ‘Bandi Singhs’ and the police officials, when the demonstrators were heading towards Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann’s residence in Chandigarh. The injured included seven women police personnel. In all, 11 police personnel of Mohali district were injured in the incident and admitted to Phase 6, Civil Hospital.
Sidhu added “thousands of protestors” had encroached upon the road leading to Mohali at Mataur since January, while holding protest/ morcha for an indefinite period. “These protestors have been sitting on the site for last three months, under the nose of State/ District Administration and are causing huge inconvenience to the public at large, who have been stopped to commute daily for their work/ job/ study from that particular route and are suffering unnecessarily for no fault of theirs,” he said.

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