Sikh group protests outside Badal’s residenceBy IANS
Friday, February 18, 2011
CHANDIGARH - Around 300 Mazhabi or dalit Sikhs Friday staged a sit-in outside the high-security residence of Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal demanding reservations in govenment institutions and higher pensions.
Despite Section 144, banning the gathering of five or more persons and staging of protest rallies being imposed in this area, the group, which included scores of women, staged their protest and raised anti-government slogans.
We had taken a prior appointment to meet the chief minister to talk to him about our long-pending demands and submit a memorandum. But the security guards stopped us saying he was busy somewhere else, Avatar Singh Sahota, president of the Punjab Sikh Valmiki-Mazhabi Reservation Association that organised the protest, told reporters.
Talking about their demands, Sahota said: “We want reservations in government institutions and rise in pension. The old-age pension should be increased from Rs.250 to Rs.1,000 and widow’s pension should be enhanced from Rs.250 to Rs.2,500. We have planned similar protests across the state in the coming days.
Despite the security breach, police said the protesters were peaceful and that no case was registered against them.