Punjab to restore security for 424 VVIPs withdrawn days before Sidhu Moosewala killing

The AAP government’s submission came during a hearing in a petition filed before the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Thursday.

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The Punjab government, which has been under fire for removing Moosewala's security, said on Thursday that it will be reinstating the security of the 424 VVIPs from June 7.

The Punjab government has informed the Punjab and Haryana High Court that it will restore the security of 424 VVIPs, temporarily withdrawn by a notification dated May 26, on June 7. The Punjab government made the statement before the Punjab and Haryana High Court which is hearing a petition filed by former Punjab deputy chief minister Om Parkash Soni, seeking quashing of an order de-categorising his security.

The AAP government’s statement before the High Court comes just days after the gruesome killing of Punjabi singer Sidhu Moosewala on May 29. The Punjab government also informed the High Court bench of Justice Raj Mohan Singh that the decision to withdraw security was taken in view of the ‘Operation Bluestar’ anniversary on June 6 as the state would be in need of security personnel. The development was, however, widely publicised by the AAP as a measure to end VIP culture in the state. Sidhu Moosewala was among those whose security was pruned by an order of the government.

Just after the singer’s tragic death, Moosewala’s father Balkaur Singh had penned an emotional note to Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann demanding that the officers who were behind the removal of Moosewala’s security be held accountable. Taking note of Balkaur Singh’s letter, Mann had ordered an inquiry into the reduction of Moosewala’s security personnel.

On Monday, the Punjab government also submitted a report to the Punjab and Haryana High Court detailing the facts and data based on which it had ordered the security withdrawal of beneficiaries. The High Court had, during the previous hearing directed the government to furnish this information to the court in a sealed cover to establish whether the order by the state government was objective.

Moosewala was shot several times in Punjab’s Mansa district, a day after his security was temporarily pruned by the Punjab government. The post-mortem report revealed that Moosewala sustained 25 bullet wounds and died of excessive bleeding.

The Punjab Police made its first arrest on Tuesday in connection to Moosewala’s killing. Manpreet Singh Bhau was accused of supplying vehicles to the assailants who had opened fire on Moosewala.

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