Senior INLD leaders who were arrested on thursday on charge of violating section 144 of the CrPc in attempt to dig the SYL canal today said they would not apply for bail on February 27, when the Haryana Assembly Budget session starts.
Party sources said the INLD would not let down their guard on the issue. Senior leaders, including party chief Om Prakash Chautala, may visit the jail on Saturday.
The INLD leaders have been kept in three barracks separate from other inmates. Two of the three barracks are in a newly constructed double-storey building. Each barrack has a capacity of 25 inmates.
It is mentionable here that Rajpura SDM sent two INLD MPs, 18 MLAs and 73 workers in judicial custody till February 27.
In Patiala, hundreds of INLD workers today camped outside the Central Jail to meet Abhay Chautala, Haryana Leader of the Opposition, and other leaders.
Jail officials tightened security in and around the premises. Abhay urged his supporters to exercise restraint and return to Haryana.
Apprehending protest by radical organisations outside the jail, the local authorities sealed all entry points to the city. “We are keeping a close watch,” a police official said.
Since early morning, more than 400 workers and supporters had started gathering outside the jail. According to the jail manual, only a few of them were allowed to meet the arrested leaders.
They met in a room meant for officers, and not in the meeting room where visitors and inmates are separated by iron bars.
Sources said Abhay and INLD MP Charanjit Singh Rori asked party workers to urge “those waiting outside the jail not to create a law and order problem, and return”.
“The leaders accepted only two parcels of fruits brought by their supporters, refusing everything else. Jail officials ensured that the meeting wrapped up before 2 pm, the cut-off time for meeting inmates,” sources said.
The arrested leaders were served usual breakfast and dinner.
Jail Superintendent Bhupinder Singh Virk said officials were not extending VIP facility to the arrested leaders. “They are not lodged in special barracks. They were allowed to meet a few workers, urging them not to raise slogans or hold dharna outside the jail,” he said.
Legal experts, meanwhile, said the arrested leaders were booked under Section 188 of the CrPC. It pertains to “disobedience to an order duly promulgated by public servant”. It is a cognisable offence. “They could have got bail yesterday, but decided to go to jail,” an expert said.