Punjab remained in the grip of tension on Saturday as Sikh organisations blocked vehicular traffic across key regions of the border state, lodging strong protest against the alleged desecration of Guru Granth Sahib.
A section of the hardliner Sikh religious outfits softened their stance and announced to lift the road blockade from across the state from Saturday evening.
This decision comes in the wake of the Akal Takht, the highest temporal authority of the Sikhs, on Friday revoking its September 24 decision of giving pardon to Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in the 2007 blasphemy case.
Meanwhile, chief minister Parkash Singh Badal visited Akal Takht and expressed deep anguish over the recent peace threatening developments.
Following Friday’s incidents of alleged sacrilege of a holy book in Tarn Taran and Ferozepur districts, massive protests were held and protesters blocked traffic. Traffic on National Highway (NH)-1 remained paralysed, while in Malwa region most districts remained cut off for the fourth consecutive day.
Mounting tension prevailed in and around Amritsar district as protesters joined by the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabhandhak Committee (SGPC) demanded the arrest of those behind the Faridkot and Tarn Taran incidents. In Amritsar, protesters blocked two major roads, while the situation was tense but under control in Tarn Taran district.
Police were deployed in heavy numbers. The protesters also sat on the Amritsar-Tarn Taran rail track, affecting train movement.
The situation was also tense in Ferozepur. Markets remained closed while two dozen points in the district’s roads remained closed following protests since early in the morning.