Punjab Govt approves ordinance against vandalism

Chandigarh: The Punjab Government on Thursday approved an ordinance which provides for tough action against those indulging in vandalism and destruction of public properties during protests.

A meeting of the cabinet here chaired by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal approved the 'Punjab Prevention of Damage to Public and Private Property Ordinance 2010', Chief Secretary S C Aggarwal told reporters.

As per the draft, those found guilty of damaging public and private property would be put behind bars for a maximum five years, he said adding there is also a provision of fine of Rs 20,000.

If the damage is caused by some explosive substance and fire, the punishment will be for seven years.

The draft also proposes to recover the cost of damages from hoodlums and there is provision for further extension of punishment for two years if an individual fail to pay the cost.

Aggarwal said that there is also provision to auction the movable property of the guilty.

In the past three years of SAD-BJP rule, the state had witnessed several clashes in which major damage to properties in the state was done by miscreants forcing Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal to assure people to enact a new law to check damage of property during protests.

The major related incidents included clashes between followers of Dera Sacha Sauda and Sikh radical groups in 2007, protests triggered in Doaba after the murder of Sant Rama Nand in Vienna in 2009, violent protests by migrants against police in Ludhiana and a communal conflict in Batala.