After the arrests of Takht jathedars appointed at radicals’ Sarbat Khalsa and other Sikh hardliners, security has been beefed up at Harike Bridge on the Amritsar-Sri Ganganagar National Highway to prevent its blockade by Sikh protesters.
Besides Punjab Police, personnel of Border Security Force (BSF), Central Reserved Police Force (CRPF) and Punjab Armed Police (PAP) have also been deployed at the key bridge that connects the Majha region to the Malwa region.
It may be recalled that Sikh agitators had blocked the bridge for 11 days in protest against a number of sacrilege incidents of holy “bir” of Guru Granth Sahib that took place across the state and suspension of Panj Pyaras (five beloved ones of Guru) of Akal Takht Sahib by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC).
Blockade of the bridge from October 14 till 25, had largely hit the normal life and had disconnected both the regions for long. The dharna staged here also gave sleepless nights to the administration as protesters carried sharp-edged weapons and any action against them could have turned into a bloody clash.
However, this time, the administration does not want to take any chance and has handed over this bridge and its surrounding to the personnel of the military and para-military forces.
The danger of the blockade looms large as Bhai Dhian Singh Mand, who was as interim jathedar of Akal Takht at the “Sarbat Khalsa” and arrested afterward by the police, belongs to Ferozepur district and has number of supporters there. It is being apprehended that they could block the bridge to demand Mand’s release.
The rumours of dharna by Sikh protesters on the bridge frightened the public, as they had to face many problems during the previous blockade.
On Tarn Taran side of the bridge, personnel of Tarn Taran police are overseeing the security measures, whereas on the other side, personnel of Ferozepur police have taken charge. Meanwhile, BSF and Rapid Action Force (RAF), a wing of CRPF, are guarding the bridge. Two kilometres each of the road from sides of the bridge have been brought under the security arrangements. As many as 500 personnel of all the forces have been deployed.
On Friday, Tarn Taran SP (D) Jagmohan Singh, Ferozepur SP (headquarters) Ketan Patil, Patti DSP Devinder Singh Sidhu and DSP Gurpreet Singh visited the spot to analyse the security measures.
Talking to HT, Tarn Taran SSP Manmohan Sharma said the arrangements had been made in view of tension prevailing after the “Sarbat Khalsa” and none would be allowed to disturbed the normal life the people.