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Milder preventive law comes handy to net social media activists backing  separatist Amritpal

'Waris Punjab De' president Amritpal Singh

Chandigarh: Preventive sections of 751 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC)came in handy for the Punjab police to arrest 78 activists of the ‘Waris Punjab De’ led by Amritpal Singh, for presenting them before the sub-divisional-magistrates (SDMs) all over the state after 24 hours.

According to police sources, these supporters of Amritpal were spreading anti-national messages and videos on social media. Apart from these arrested activists, an unspecified number of Amritpal’s hardcore team have been detained in different police stations in Punjab.

Ordinarily, under section 751 CrPc, an SHO is empowered to release the accused on bail after accepting a surety bond. It is also the choice of the police station in-charge to deny him bail. In the latter event, the SHO is required to present the accused before the executive court of the SDM within 24 hours of his arrest. The SDM then is empowered to accept or refuse bail to send the accused to jail for seven days. If after seven days the SDM is not satisfied with the conduct of the accused, he can continue to keep the person in jail for a period not exceeding 6 months.

Sources revealed that a list of suspects was given to all the SHOs of the state. Punjab police intelligence wing and the central government’s Intelligence Bureau (IB) prepared the lists. Every SHO formed 3-well-equipped teams of his men that raided the houses of the activists.

A police officer explains that section 751 of CrPc aims to prevent and caution an accused from doing anything unlawful without any stringent penal action. As most of the members of ‘Waris Punjab De’ are not considered to be hardened criminals yet, the police intend to make them “taste a milder dose of law” so that they think about what could be in store ahead if they indulge in any illegal activity.

The SDMs posted all over the state have been told to be vigilant and apply their minds when those arrested are produced before them by the local police.

The entire state has also been brought under section 144 of CrPc which empowers the magistrate to prohibit gathering by 4 or more people at any place. It means that not more than 3 people can collect at a given place.