Navjot Sidhu released from Patiala jail; takes potshots at Centre, AAP

The former state Congress chief was jailed on May 20 last year after being sentenced to one-year rigorous imprisonment by the Supreme Court in a road rage case

Congress leader Navjot Sidhu seen upon his release from Patiala jail I Photo: ANI

On Saturday (April 1), Congress leader Navjot Sidhu walked out of Patiala central jail after serving his term in 1988 road rage death case.

He was wearing a sky blue jacket when he came out of jail. There were expectations that he would be released by afternoon but he came out of jail at 5:53 pm. The 59-year-old’s supporters had assembled since morning outside the prison to accord him a grand welcome upon his release and they could be heard chanting Navjot Sidhu zindabad.

Soon after walking out of the Patiala Central Jail on Saturday, Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu slammed the Centre, alleging that democracy is in chains and institutions have turned slaves in the country. He also claimed that a conspiracy is being hatched to impose the President’s Rule in Punjab. Sidhu described Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann as “akhbari mukhmantri” and criticised his government over law and order and debt issues.

“Whenever dictatorship came in the country, a revolution came and today, I say the revolutions name is Rahul Gandhi,” Sidhu told reporters who had been waiting outside the jail since morning. “Debate and dissent are essences of this democracy, but attempts are being made to suppress opposition voice,” he added. He said the Congress is fighting against oppression. “Today democracy is in chains, there is nothing like democracy today, he alleged. He claimed that a conspiracy was being hatched to impose Presidents rule in Punjab. “Punjab is the shield of this country, attempts are being made to break this shield. A conspiracy is going on to impose President’s Rule in Punjab,” he claimed.

In an apparent reference to Sikhs, who are a minority community in the country, Sidhu said, There is a minority rule in Punjab. Wherever the minority is in majoritythe Centre hatches conspiracy (against it). He alleged first a law and order problem is created. After that, there is an attempt to control it and then they say, we have brought peace, he said. “If you weaken Punjab, then you will become weak yourself. No government can become strong by weakening Punjab,” he said.

Also Read: Navjot Sidhu to walk out after 10 months of ‘rigorous imprisonment’

Several Congress leaders including Amritsar MP Gurjit Aujla, former Punjab Congress chiefs Shamsher Singh Dullo, Mohinder Singh Kaypee and Lal Singh, former MLA Navtej Singh Cheema, other leaders Ashwani Sekhri, Sukhwinder Singh Danny were also waiting for the return of Sidhu.

The former state Congress chief was jailed on May 20 last year after being sentenced to one-year rigorous imprisonment by the Supreme Court over the death of 65-year-old Gurnam Singh in a road rage case in 1988.

Sidhu’s lawyer HPS Varma on Friday had said the release was happening earlier due to Sidhu’s good conduct during imprisonment, as allowed under the rules. Sidhu’s family had got an intimation from the authorities regarding his release from the Patiala jail.

(With agency inputs)