Recent incidents of sacrilege in parts of the state dampened the spirit of Diwali celebrations in Punjab while neighbouring Haryana celebrated the festival of light with fervour and enthusiasm.
Enthusiasm was missing among Sikhs who constitute a larger part of population in Punjab.
The recent incidents of desecration of holy books in parts of Punjab have hurt feelings of the Sikh community.
Finding no reason for celebrating Diwali, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) has appealed to the Sikhs to observe the festival in a simple way by just lighting earthen lamps.
Most of the Sikhs observed the day as ‘Black Diwali’.
Besides, at many places including in district Mansa, Amritsar, Tarn Taran, Gurdaspur, Bathinda, Moga and Ferozepur, villagers hoisted black flags over their houses.
Banner appealing devotees to observe ‘Black Diwali’ were displayed at gates of several Sikh shrines.
The Golden Temple was not lit on Diwali and no firework show took place which otherwise is a regular feature on the occasion of the festival.
However, Haryana was drenched in the spirit of Diwali.
Reports of celebrations poured from across the state as people also wished each other and exchanged gifts.
In Chandigarh, Sector 17, the nerve centre of the city was beautifully lit up.
To prevent any untoward incident the fire and police department were on their toes, officials said.
Security in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh was beefed up, officials said.
Reports coming from various places in Punjab indicated that the announcement to observe ‘Black Diwali’ had its effect in most parts of the state.
Meanwhile, the developments have affected the usual trade and business activity, including sale of sweets and crackers.
Meanwhile, a report said that almost all Sikh families did not lit up their houses in Tarn Taran.
Even at some places in Punjab, Hindu families did not show much enthusiasm in celebrating the festival.
Anil Sharma, a resident of Punjab, said “many Hindus have decided to join the protest against the sacrilege incidents.”
The festival did not fetch much business for the sweetshop owners, firecrackers sellers and other gift centers in Punjab.
The main market along Bathinda road in Bargari village where the first incident of sacrilege took place wore a deserted look on Diwali.
However, in neighbouring Haryana markets were abuzz and people were seen in enthusiasm in celebrating the festival.