Apprehending tension over a piece of land at the ancient Ram Tirath shrine near here, police have increased the security of the mahant to whom the Punjab and Haryana high court has given the possession.
Earlier, only three to four policemen guarded petitioner mahant Baldev Giri; but on Sunday the number went up to 20. An extra 500 cops are mobilised from the border range districts. On Sunday, an uneasy calm prevailed at the shrine. "The increased security is temporary, to avoid any untoward incident," said Rajasansi deputy superintendent of police (DSP) Jagatpreet Singh.
As the high court order is to be carried out on Monday, tension is expected; as Bhagwan Valmiki Dhuna Sahib Management Trust, which has the possession currently, is not willing to give it up. "Negotiations are on but if no solution comes out, we are ready to deal with any eventuality," said Amritsar (rural) senior superintendent of police (SSP) Jasdeep Singh.
Apart from the Amritsar rural jurisdiction, the force has been gathered from the neighbouring districts of Tarn Taran, Gurdaspur and Pathankot. Earlier, after failing to get possession, Giri had moved the high court, which on September 4 directed SSP Jasdeep Singh to implement the execution warrant.
The community occupying the land has called a big number of its members to Amritsar to oppose the police efforts to take over the land. "Huge police contingents have come in the past as well but withdrawn every time. Let us see what happens on Monday," mahant Baldev Giri told the media on Sunday."
Mahant Malkiat Nath, who holds the possession of the disputed portions, has the backing of Bhagwan Valmiki Dhuna Sahib Management Trust. "The Punjab government wants us to leave the possession but we won't do it at any cost. The supporters from my community will be here on Monday, ready to make any sacrifice," said mahant Nath.
Mahant Giri won the case in 2004 in Ajnala but every time a law and order problem emerges when he has to take over the possession.
With the high court putting pressure on the SSP again, the police and the government are on their toes. Trying to defuse the situation, the state government is holding meetings in Chandigarh with the stakeholders from both sides, and top officials are involved in peacemaking.