Tension raked up in Amritsar after protesters brandishing swords took to the streets and forcibly got the shops and commercial establishments closed, while the police remained a mute spectator throughout the day.
Though there was no ‘bandh call’ given by any outfit as per the district administration, since the day started, agitators protesting against the sacrilege of Sri Guru Granth Sahib took to the roads and asked people to close the shops.
Till 4 pm hardly any senior police officer was seen in the entire Civil Lines area, as the protesters got the entire Lawrence Road, Ranjit Avenue, Nehru Shopping Complex, Queens Road, Cooper Road and areas, including University Road and Majitha Road closed.
Things were no different in the old city area, as youth on motorcycles entered the bazaars and Hall Gate and got the entire area forcibly closed.
Areas around Golden Temple, Katra Ahluwalia, Pink Plaza and the entire walled city witnessed a complete shutdown.
Youngsters with swords in hands moved all around the city to ensure a total bandh. They demanded action against those behind the sacrilege incidents and condemned the failure of the government till now.
Meanwhile, the police, which remained a spectator and officers who opted to indoors, were seen coming out on roads in the evening and chasing few protesters.
The protesters looked extremely upset with the sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib and claimed that the government had failed in ensuring a single arrest till now. They also condemned the police firing in which two persons were killed few days back.
Blockades continue in and around Amritsar, numbers swell
As tension gripped the holy city, the road blockades entered the third day on Monday. The number of protesters swelled at Daburji where around 500 people staged dharna and blocked the road. Similarly, the blockade continued at Beas Bridge, totally affecting the traffic movement on the Amritsar-New Delhi National Highway.
Along with a blockade at the Kot Mit Singh area, hundreds of protesters staged dharnas at the Mirankot, Sultanwind and Verka area.
Due the blockades all around the city, Amritsar was locked from all sides and people had to take numerous diversions to reach their destinations.
Education institutes, petrol pumps closed
As the city remained tense throughout the day, apart from streets and bazaars, various private schools and petrol pumps also remained closed for the entire day.
Due to the bandh in Amritsar, the city roads gave a deserted look. Even the medicine markets remained closed for the entire day, causing inconvenience to people.
Deputy Commissioner appeals,
action against those spreading rumors
As the situation remained tense and rumors on Whatsapp about deployment of military and curfew in Amritsar took center-stage; Amritsar deputy commissioner appealed to the people of the city to keep calm and ensured action against those behind this.
DC Ravi Bhagat said, “Rumors are being spread on social media. The administration is in total control of the situation and I appeal to the residents to be vigilant against rumors. We are maintaining a close eye and those spreading panic will face action.”
Police detain 47 persons
Amritsar police commissioner Jatinder Aulakh said, “In the evening we rounded up around 47 persons who were forcibly getting the bazaars closed. We will take appropriate action against them.”
On a question that why the police officers were hardly seen in the city when the shops were being forcibly closed all over Amritsar, the police commissioner said, “We came to know about this a little late. The persons detained are outsiders and have come from various places.”