Observing complete shutdown on the 32nd anniversary of the Operation Bluestar, all commercial establishments, shopping complexes, banks, offices, educational institutes and filling stations remained closed throughout the day here on Monday.
Radical group Dal Khalsa had given the call for ‘Amritsar Bandh’ in solidarity with those killed this day during the 1984 army operation at the Golden Temple complex. The outfit had already taken out a remembrance parade in the run up to the anniversary. To prevent any adverse law and order situation, heavy police deployment had been made in the city. Paramilitary forces were also called in.
Amid this tense atmosphere, shopkeepers decided to keep their establishments closed, although the police had assured them of providing security against any bid to shut down their shops forcibly. All markets in the walled city as well as other localities, including Ranjit Avenue, Sultanwind Road and Chheharta Road, witnessed a deserted look, with only a few people and vehicles on the streets. Streets vendors, too, came out only in small numbers.
All schools, colleges and coaching centres were also closed for the day, though hospitals, clinics and chemist shops carried out their operations as normal.
With markets remaining closed, people could not buy goods of daily need. All key roads and chowks were barricaded and security forces stopping all vehicles for checking. Daily commuters had to face inconvenience as transport facilities were also affected partially. Although long-route buses were not affected, local buses and auto-rickshaws were largely absent from city roads.
A PEACEFUL ‘BANDH’
Thanking locals for the “good response” given to their call, Dal Khalsa leaders said they had expressed solidarity with the Operation Bluestar victims through this “peaceful bandh”.
Earlier, led by president Harpal Singh Cheema, senior activists Kanwar Pal Singh and Satnam Singh participated in a prayer meeting at the Akal Takht in the Golden Temple complex, but boycotted jathedar Gurbachan Singh’s speech.