Bapu Surat Singh Khalsa, who is sitting on hunger strike since January 16th, had been taken into preventive custody and a case had been registered against him, said ADCP (Crime) Mukhwinder Singh Bhullar. His treatment also started as his health was deteriorating and he was refusing medical treatment.
Police force in a large number reached the Civil Hospital where 82-year-old Khalsa was kept. His son Ravinder Singh Gogi, Gurdeep Singh Bathinda, Damandeep Singh Khalsa and few others were also arrested.
On Thursday, the Shiv Sena Secular held a rally in support of Khalsa.
Premature release of prisoners not possible : DGP Saini
Clarifying the position at a news conference here today, Director General of Police Sumedh Singh Saini made it clear that out of 3665 prisoners in the state sentenced to life imprisonment, 223 were eligible for pre-mature release in accordance with the rules but that was not possible now.
He said the list submitted Khalsa had the names of only two such prisoners whose release could be considered but the problem was the stay from the Supreme Court. Thestate government had already filed an appeal with the apex court on this issue.
He denied that hundreds of prisoners in Punjab jails were those who had completed their life term but were not being released saying none could be detained after completion of sentence.
He said Khalsa had submitted a list of 82 prisoners 25 of whom were facing trial and as such, could not be released at this stage. The list includes the Jagtar Singh Tara, Gurpreet Singh Gopi, Ramandip Singh Goldy and Ratandip Singh who had been extradited from other countries and keeping in view their involvement in cases of terrorism, they could not be released. Maintaining amity and communal harmony was the first priority of the police, he added.
The list had the names of 16 prisoners who had not been convicted for life and would thus be released after completion of the sentence while the details about six others were incomplete. The eight senior citizens were those who had been convicted in the 1987Ludhiana bank robbery case. Then there were others who were lodged in jails outside Punjab. Three of those listed had already been released.
Ludhiana police chief R S Brar said Khalsa was taking diet coke, desi ghee and salted lime water. His condition was deteriorating.
Saini said close watch was also being maintained on mobilisation of funds in Khalsa’s name in foreign countries.