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Government reaches out to Takht, 'releases' 348 detainees

Remaining 12 in preventive custody to be freed soon, Jathedar’s PA informed on phone

Government reaches out to Takht, 'releases' 348 detainees

Detainees being produced before a Baba Bakala court. File



Tribune News Service

Neeraj Bagga

Amritsar, March 29

A day after Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann alleged that Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh was playing into the hands of the “ Badals- controlled” Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee over the crackdown on “Waris Punjab De” chief Amritpal Singh, the government, in a bid to reach out to Takht, today reportedly “released” 348 of the 360 detainees.

On March 27, the Jatehdar had served a 24-hour ultimatum on the state government for the release of the detainees.

Akal Takht Jathedar’s personal assistant Jaspal Singh said a government representative called them to inform about the release of the detainees. He claimed that the official concerned also assured that the remaining 12 taken into preventive custody under Section 107/151 of the CrPC would be released soon.

The phone call reportedly took place hours before a Twitter post of Akal Takht Jathedar asking the Sikh Sangat to participate in the Panthic congregation was withheld in India.

Yesterday, the CM tweeted, “History shows that the Badals have abused the position of Jathedars for their personal benefit. The Jathedar should have issued the ultimatum for acting on cases relating to sacrilege or disappearance of ‘swaroops’ of Guru Granth Sahib.”

Minutes later, the Jathedar responded to the tweet and asked the CM to save Punjab and reunite innocent youth with their mothers.

The current move may defuse the “tense situation” between the government and Akal Takht as the latter had also asked to withdraw cases registered under the National Security Act. On March 25, the Jathedar had asked Amritpal to surrender before the police and join the probe.

Inspector General Sukhchain Singh Gill did not respond to the repeated phone calls on the issue.

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