A day after the Punjab government issued guidelines saying that a person or an organisation (including a political party) will be booked in case a protest organised by them turns violent, Aam Aadmi Party leader Sukhpal Khaira (suspended at present) termed the move as an attempt to gag democratic protests in the State.
Punjab’s Department of Home Affairs and Justice had on Tuesday issued comprehensive guidelines for DCs, SSPs and Police Commissioners for the regulation and conduct of processions, assemblies, protests and demonstrations.
Taking to Twitter to express his displeasure, Mr. Khaira, who is the MLA from Bholath, said: “Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh is trying to gag the voice of democratic protests in Punjab by issuing draconian guidelines and giving more powers to the police to intimidate people. This feudal act of his will be opposed tooth and nail.”
The Punjab Assembling and Procession Guidelines-Advisories, 2018, provide that the competent authority to which application for permission has been sought may obtain no objection certificate, permission or comments from other departments concerned and authorities.
An official statement said that the advisory also stipulates that the entire event should be videographed at the cost of the organisers. “If any person or organisation including a political party, calls for any violent protest aiming to destroy public or private property, or calls for any protest that subsequently results in destruction of public, private property, an FIR shall be registered showing the names of the leaders or persons who had expressly called for such protests,” said the statement.