Kathua/Jammu: Shiromani Akali Dal (A) President Simranjit Singh Mann spent the night protesting at Lakhanpur — the gateway to Jammu and Kashmir bordering Punjab — after being denied entry into the Union Territory, officials said.
Mann, a Member of Parliament from Sangrur in Punjab, was stopped on the orders of Kathua District Magistrate Rahul Pandey, leading to protests by the politician and his supporters.
Pandey, in his order issued under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), said it had been brought to his notice by the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) that Mann was scheduled to enter Jammu and Kashmir and his visit was likely to cause “disturbance in public tranquility”.
“Therefore, I, in exercise of the powers vested in me under Section 144 CrPC do hereby prohibit Mann from entering the jurisdiction of Kathua,” Pandey said in his order.
Mann, however, refused to return and spent the night at Lakhanpur despite both Pandey and SSP Ramesh Kotwal visiting him around midnight and requesting him to return.
Mann sought from them the specific reason for being denied entry into Jammu and Kashmir, a source said, adding that the politician also threatened to violate the prohibitory orders and asked the officers to arrest him.
Criticising the Kathua administration’s decision to deny him entry, Mann had earlier said, “I am a Sikh and that is why BJP and the RSS did not allow my entry into Jammu and Kashmir.”
“There is no legislature in Jammu and Kashmir, which is under military rule. There is no democracy. I have come to visit the people of Kashmir to see for myself what is happening (post abrogation of Article 370). I want to highlight the real picture to the outside world,” he had told reporters.
The administration has beefed up security at Lakhanpur after receiving information that Mann supporters from Punjab and Kathua were planning to join him at the protest site.
Additional deployments have been made as a precautionary measure to enforce the prohibitory orders and maintain law and order, officials said. PTI