Police on Tuesday claimed to have cracked the Faridkot sacrilege case and arrested two persons even as paramilitary forces were deployed in four districts, a day after the Centre raised concern over the situation in the state that is reeling under violent protests over desecration of the holy book.
As another incident of sacrilege was reported from a village in Bathinda, the state cabinet adopted a resolution condemning the incidents of sacrilege.
“Paramilitary forces have been deployed in Amritsar, Jalandhar, Ludhiana and Tarn Taran districts,” Amritsar police commissioner Jatinder Singh Aulakh said.
It is learnt that the Union government decided to rush 10 companies of paramilitary troops to these four districts sensing tension in Punjab. Union home minister Rajnath Singh had on Friday spoken to chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and raised concern over recent happenings in the state.
The Congress and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Tuesday demanded imposition of President’s rule in Punjab contending that the state government has failed to tackle the law and order situation.
In Amritsar, BSF men were deployed at main roundabouts, railway station and areas around the Golden Temple.
In Bathinda, some pages of the holy book were found torn at Gurusar Mehraj village. “The situation in the village is tense,” said police.
Expressing resentment over the incidents of sacrilege, former Budhladha MLA Mangat Rai Bansal quit the Akali Dal.
Sikh outfits continued to stage dharnas at several places in the state with its activists blocking state and national highways. Over 200 protesters blocked national highway 1 near Daburji in Amritsar.
In Bathinda, protesters resorted to daylong dharnas at Kotshamir, Talwandi Sabo, Maur and Rampura Phul. A blockade on Bathinda – Malout road was lifted at 1 pm.
Traffic was disrupted at various places in Ludhiana where protesters blocked national highway 95. Protesters also disrupted traffic on the GT Road near Dhariwal in Gurdaspur
The blockade at Harike bridge, that connects Majha and Malwa regions, continued for the sixth day. Commercial establishments were open in Tarn Taran while protesters lifted ‘dharnas’ from many places in the district.
Majority of protests across the state are being held between 10 am and 1 pm, as per the schedule chalked out by protesters.
A day after violent clash between Sikh activists and Hindu shopkeepers, Jalandhar limped back to normalcy. The traffic, however, remained suspended on National Highway 1 with blockades at PAP and Rama Mandi chowks.
Traffic remained disrupted for about three hours in Kapurthala and two groups of Sikh activists staged dharnas at Rehana Jattan village on Phagwara-Hoshiarpur road. Protests were also held on Phagwara-Nakodar road.
A day after complete bandh, markets, educational institutions and petrol pumps were seen open in Amritsar. However, dharnas continued on Beas bridge, Kot Mit Singh road and Chogawan road.
Police have intensified patrolling while SGPC members are keeping vigil at various gurdwaras in the state.
Meanwhile, deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal on Tuesday cancelled the sixth edition of the World Kabaddi Cup scheduled to be held across the state in November following violence after incidents of desecration.