The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Punjab on Monday staged a protest in front of the official residence of Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh against the scam perpetrated by the Congress government in the post-matric scholarship scheme for Dalit students. Led by senior AAP leader and Leader of Opposition (LoP) in the Punjab Assembly, Harpal Singh Cheema, a large number of party leaders and workers marched towards the Chief Minister's residence, including Deputy Leader of Opposition Saravjit Kaur Manuke, MLAs Master Baldev Singh Jaito, Principal Budhram, Jagtar Singh Jagga Hissowal, Manjit Singh Bilaspur, Kulwant Singh Pandori and incharge Payal assembly constituency Manwinder Singh Giaspura.During the tumultuous protest, Chandigarh police forcibly detained the AAP MLAs and leaders and sent them to Sector 17 police station. AAP senior leader Manwinder Singh Giaspura, started a hunger strike in the police custody as per his announcement. On the occasion, Harpal Singh Cheema said that the Captain Amarinder Singh-led Congress government had squandered crores of rupees in the scholarships of two lakh Dalit students and jeopardized the future of the students. “At the behest of the government, the police administration has violated our constitutional right to protest, but the Aam Aadmi Party would continue its struggle and the AAP workers would go on hunger strike on June 15 in front of the offices of Deputy Commissioners in all the districts across the state,” said Cheema.
He said that the AAP's struggle would continue till a case was registered against Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal and Social Welfare Minister Sadhu Singh Dharamsot under SC/ST Act. Senior leader Manwinder Singh Giaspura said that the investigation report submitted by senior IAS officer Kirpa Shankar Saroj on the post-matric scholarship scam revealed that the scholarships were given by the Social Welfare Minister to his crony managers of fake colleges. “As a result, private colleges have not received funds and lakhs of Dalit students have been deprived of their right to education,” he added. Giaspura announced that his hunger strike would continue even while in police custody.Deputy Leader of Opposition Saravjit Kaur Manuke, Principal Budhram and Master Baldev Singh said that the Aam Aadmi Party had raised its voice against the Dalit students' scholarship scam and even though the Captain government had released some amount to private colleges; but Dalit students will not be able to sit for their exams till the government releases the balance amount of Rs 1,539 crore. The AAP leaders said that Captain Amarinder Singh's government had robbed the rights of Dalits during its tenure. “While the government has embezzled the scholarship money of Dalit students, it has also discriminated in giving jobs to Dalit youth and promotions to employees,” they added. The leaders said that with the Punjab Assembly elections looming, the Captain government was doing a drama by releasing some amount of post-matric scholarship amount, but the people of Punjab would take account of the injustice done by the Punjab Congress government and Captain Amarinder Singh.