Several Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leaders, including president Sukhbir Singh Badal and senior functionary Bikram Singh Majithia, were detained on Tuesday after SAD and BSP workers tried to force their way to “gherao" the residence of Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh in Mohali. Police used water cannons to disperse the crowd as protesters, led by Badal, shouted slogans against the Congress-led government over several issues, including irregularities in the purchase of Fateh kits and alleged diversion of COVID-19 vaccine doses to private hospitals.
Badal later put out tweets stating that he had courted arrest with SAD and BSP workers.
Courted arrest with hundreds of SAD & BSP workers while marching to CM @capt_amarinder's farmhouse near Chd to demand arrest of health min @BalbirSinghMLA for vaccine & fateh kit scams besides need to give market rate to farmers whose lands are acquired for highway projects.1/2 pic.twitter.com/8YFYQpiPPY— Sukhbir Singh Badal (@officeofssbadal) June 15, 2021
Earlier thousands of SAD-BSP workers collected near @capt_amarinder’s farmhouse to wake the arrogant ‘raja’ from his slumber & demand justice for ppl of Punjab. SAD-BSP hv decided to make all Cong leaders accountable for corruption done by them once it forms the govt in 2022. 2/2 pic.twitter.com/6nlXcGwvEq— Sukhbir Singh Badal (@officeofssbadal) June 15, 2021
It was the first joint protest of the SAD and BSP, days after both the parties had stitched an alliance for the 2022 Punjab Assembly polls. BSP state president Jasbir Singh Garhi was also present at the protest.
Police personnel were deployed in strength and multi-layered barricades were put up on the road leading to the Chief Minister's residence. The SAD and BSP had planned to 'gherao' the CM's residence at Siswan in Mohali.
Initially, scores of Akali and BSP protesters forced their way through the first layer of barricades. Police used water cannons when protesters tried to cross the second layer of barricades. In the melee, turbans of several protesters were tossed aside as police resorted to water cannons.
Mohali Senior Superintendent of Police Satinder Singh was also present at the spot. Earlier, addressing the workers, SAD chief Badal slammed the state government over the issue of alleged irregularities in the purchase of Fateh kits and alleged diversion of vaccine doses to private hospitals.
A 'Fateh kit' contains a pulse oximeter, thermometer, face masks, a steamer, sanitiser, Vitamin-C and zinc tablets and some other medicines for COVID-19 patients.
(With PTI inputs)