Punjab Police arrested radical Sikh leaders as a preventive measure after many groups called a state wide shutdown to highlight the delay injustice to victims of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots on Wednesday.
"Keeping in mind the law and order situation in the state, we have made some preventive arrests. Only those people were arrested who were trying to damage public property and to halt rail traffic. We did not use force against anybody," a police officer said in Chandigarh on Wednesday.
The Khalsa Action Committee (KAC), the Dal Khalsa and some other Sikh groups had Oct 28 given the call for state wide bandh (shutdown).
Around 200 agitators, including KAC chairman Bhai Mokham Singh and Dal Khalsa spokesperson Kanwarpal Singh, were arrested from Amritsar railway station on Wednesday morning, according to police.
"We were peacefully protesting and sitting on the railway tracks. Punjab Police used force and dragged us from there. They arrested around 200 Sikh protestors from there and have kept them in detention in different police station," Kanwarpal Singh said.
"We had given this call on humanitarian grounds to pay homage to those who had lost their lives in 1984 riots. We were not disturbing the peace or law and order situation. This is a clear case of justice denial and violation of human rights," Kanwarpal Singh said.
Singh added that Punjab Police have arrested around 100 Sikh leaders from various parts of the state to foil their bandh call.
Shopkeepers who on their own wanted to join the bandh were forced by the police to open their shops, he claimed.
In their bandh call, Sikh leaders said they would not stop private vehicles, and hospitals and chemist shops would be allowed to function normally.
However, Wednesday's bandh largely turned out to be a lukewarm affair, with police disallowing the protestors to gather in large numbers anywhere.
Punjab is ruled by the pre-poll alliance of the Shiromani Akali Dal and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).