The radical Sarbat Khalsa at Chabba village on Sunday had no major impact on the holy city, as main markets, including Hall Bazaar, Lawrence Road, Mall Road, Chheharta were open and did not witnessing any disturbance. The city was under huge security cover and the police made sure that unscrupulous elements didn’t disturb the law and order situation in the city.
The markets in the walled city were lit up on Monday midnight and it was a festive flavour all around. Meanwhile, clubs, hotels and farmhouses would be hosting the Diwali parties as usual.
Amritsar police to be on special duty on Diwali
As police teams were deployed in various areas, including the Golden Temple, Hall Gate, Hathi Gate, it gave the shopkeepers confidence to open their shops without fear and carry on their business as usual.
Police officials on duty informed that on Diwali special duty has been assigned to the entire police force, including the traffic cops. They said this special duty was because of the radical Sarbat Khalsa and as security of people was the primary concern of the department. “Cars will be checked and no hooliganism will be tolerated,” they said.
“Strict action will be initiated against those who will try to create law and order problem or try to shutdown the shops forcibly. We all will be on our toes this Diwali. It’s our duty to safeguard the people so that they can enjoy the festival. We assure peace in the city,” said a police officer on condition of anonymity.
No signs of ‘Black Diwali’ in rural areas
On Tuesday morning, people, both, in the urban and the rural areas started stepping out of their homes and were seen in the markets. Villages along the Ajnala road, including Harshi Shina, Cukdhawala and others witnessed crowd in the markets.
“Our area is not affected by Sarbat Khalsa. Yes, the Sikh families are not bursting crackers this year, but that’s just because they are by the sacrilege of holy scriptures. However, lighting of gurudwaras will done as usual. Sikh families are exchanging gifts and have plans to light up their homes,” says Manjeet Singh from Harsha Shina (Uchha Kila).
Shopkeepers thank police authorities
The shopkeepers had reasons to rejoice as due to proper arrangements made by the police authorities, no untoward incidents were witnessed in the city and major markets, including Ranjit Avenue, Green Avenue, Lawrence Road, Mall Road, Chhehrta were abuzz with people doing Diwali shopping.
Thanking the police authorities for this, the shopkeepers said, “We had a fear that because of Sarbat Khalsa there might be disturbances and bandh call. But looking at the deployment of police force, we felt secured and thus we all planned to open our shops. We couldn’t have afforded to close our shops today and tomorrow, as we have big Diwali stock piled up with us. It would had been a huge loss for us.”
Sikh families boycott crackers not ceremonial lightings
Though Sikh families won’t be bursting crackers, the appeal of the SGPC to mark this as a “Black Diwali” hasn’t appealed to the residents. “We don’t think boycotting the festival of lights, which can revive harmony, and also not celebrating the Bandi Chhor Diwas will solve any purpose. Thus like every year, we will be lighting up our homes and visit local gurdwaras. But yes due to the sacrilege of Sri Guru Granth Sahib, we have decided not to burst crackers. In fact I am of a view that Sikh families should light up the rooms of Sri Guru Granth Sahib in their homes,” says Jaspreet Singh, a local resident.
Cracker market still awaiting rush
“We hope for a more footfall. We all are not happy with the business we had this year. Definitely this unrest and appeal by the SGPC has affected our earnings,” shares Dinesh Sharma, a cracker vendor.