Despite persistent efforts from both, the Tarn Taran and the Ferozepur district authorities, protesters continued to block the Harike bridge against the sacrilege of Sri Guru Granth Sahib for the 10th consecutive day, here on Saturday, cutting off the link of Majha region from the Malwa region.
The protesters, who reiterated their demand of reinstatement of “Panj Pyaras” of Akal Takht, alleged that the police had barricaded both sides of the bridge and were not allowing their supporters to reach the place where dharnas were being undertaken.
“Such tricks cannot stop us to continue our struggle for restoration of respect and dignity of Sri Guru Granth Sahib and Sikh principles violated by the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal and the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC),” they said.
Meanwhile, under pressure, the police gave some relaxation to the protesters and withdrew some personnel from the spots.
Due to the blockade of the key bridge, vehicles are going to Malwa region via Sultanpur Lodhi (Kapurthala), as the blockade of Beas river bridge at Goindwal Sahib has been lifted. However, the commuters have to cover an extra 40 kilometre on this route.
Meanwhile, security has been beefed up around both the dharna spots. Personnel of Punjab Police and Border Security Force (BSF) have been deployed in sizeable numbers. In addition, the security arrangements have been tightened at key locations throughout the district in view of the prevailing tense atmosphere.
At Tarn Taran where the dharna entered the 8th day, “akhand path” was going on and its “bhog” ceremony would be performed on Sunday. Due to “akhand path”, sizeable numbers of Sikh devotees, including women were present on the dharna. More devotees were likely to attend the “bhog” ceremony, which might pose a challenge to the police.