Shiromani Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Singh Badal has said his party will provide legal assistance to Sikhs arrested in the ongoing police crackdown and ensure their rights were not "trampled upon" by the Aam Aadmi Party government. Altogether, 154 people have been arrested since police started its crackdown on Saturday against Khalistani leader Amritpal Singh and members of his "Waris Punjab De" group.
Mr Badal's statement, however, did not mention Amritpal Singh, who has been on the run since the police action began on Saturday, or his group.
The SAD president said it was shocking that scores of young men were being arrested "indiscriminately merely on suspicion" and termed the ongoing crackdown "extra-constitutional".
He said a state-level committee formed under SAD legal cell president Arshdeep Singh Kler, which would coordinate with party leaders in districts and provide prompt legal aid.
Mr Badal also asked party leaders to bring the "repression let loose" on young Sikh men to the notice of the party as well as the state committee to ensure justice to them.
SAD leader Virsa Singh Valtoha asked the AAP government to immediately withdraw the National Security Act (NSA) invoked against those arrested during the crackdown.
Addressing a press conference in Amritsar, Mr Valtoha said it was shocking to see that the Punjab Police registered cases against some Sikh youths under the NSA on instructions from the state government and have sent them to Dibrugarh jail in Assam.
Invoking the NSA in an ordinary law and order situation cannot be termed wise in any manner, he claimed.
Mr Valtoha, however, said the Akali Dal has always advocated that those who violated the law should be punished.