Sikh protesters block national highway near Tarn Taran | punjab$amritsar | Hindustan Times
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Sikh protesters block national highway near Tarn Taran

Following a bandh call given by Giani Dhian Singh Mand, who was appointed interim jathedar of Akal Takht during the ‘Sarbat Khalsa’ on November 10, radical Sikh outfits staged a dharna at Rasoolpur Nehran Chowk, 4-km from Tarn Taran, blocking the Amritsar-Bathinda national highway here on Monday.

punjab Updated: Nov 23, 2015 19:14 IST
HT Correspondents
Sikh activists block Amritsar-Bathinda national highway at near Tarn Taran on Monday.
Sikh activists block Amritsar-Bathinda national highway at near Tarn Taran on Monday. (HT Photo)

Following a bandh call given by Giani Dhian Singh Mand, who was appointed interim jathedar of Akal Takht during the ‘Sarbat Khalsa’ on November 10, radical Sikh outfits staged a dharna at Rasoolpur Nehran Chowk, 4-km from Tarn Taran, blocking the Amritsar-Bathinda national highway here on Monday.

The protesters demanded the arrest of culprits behind the sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib at Kot Budha village, near Patti.

Mand had appealed to the Sikh community to extend support to the Punjab bandh call against the arrest of Panthic leaders by the Punjab Government after the Sarbat Khalsa.

However, later on, Sikh organisations, including Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), decided to block roads instead of supporting shutdown call in view of the possibility of lukewarm response to it, revealed a Sikh leader, while talking to HT at the dharna.

The sit-in began at 9am and lasted for four hours. The chowk is an important point as the road to Patti and Khemkaran starts from here. Commuters had to face many problems in reaching their destinations. The blockade caused traffic chaos on link roads of nearby rural areas as the commuters had no option except following these narrow roads.

Addressing the protesters, Sikh Youth Federation (Bhindranwale) leader Balwant Singh Gopala said the people of Punjab could not tolerate the atrocities of the Badal-led government any further and they would continue their stir till the dominance of Parkash Singh Badal in the state and Sikh institutions comes to an end.

Representatives of Guru Granth Sahib Satkar committees, Damdami Taksal, Dal Panth Baba Bidhi Chand Sur Singh were also among those who took part in the demonstration.

The police and paramilitary forces have already been guarding the crucial Harike bridge which connects Majha to Malwa. In view of the bandh call, troops were deployed in large numbers on Beas river bridge at Goindwal Sahib too as there was a threat of Sikh outfits blocking these two bridges.

It may be recalled that following the sacrilege incidents in the state, the public suffered as the protesters had blocked these bridges for around one-and-a-half week.

Bandh called by radicals a damp squib in Amritsar

Amritsar witnessed complete normalcy with shops near the Golden Temple staying open despite a bandh called by the radicals. (Sameer Sehgal/HT Photo)

The Punjab bandh call given by Mand failed to make any impact in Amritsar, as daily life of city residents continued as usual on Monday and no disturbance was reported.

Police commissioner Jatinder Aulakh had held a detailed meeting with his officers on Sunday night and instructed them to be cautious about the bandh call. The police was clear in its aim of not allowing anyone to cause disturbance on the streets or force closure of shops.

As the day started, heavy deployment of cops was made in and around the city. Apart from the Punjab Police personnel, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police personnel were also seen guarding the major areas of the city.

Cops gathered in large numbers at the Bhandari Bridge and moved to various parts of the city after a brief meeting there.

Heavy deployment of security personnel was made in the walled city, especially in areas around the Golden Temple.

The police, which was committed to foil any attempt of the radicals, conducted raids at various places in the morning to nab those who were likely to create unrest.

Throughout the day, the shops and educational institutes remained open while the local public transport functioned smoothly.

Police Commissioner Jatinder Aulakh said, “We were very clear that nobody will be allowed to move out on the roads with swords and forcibly get the shops closed. Officers were instructed about this on Sunday night and the same was followed on Monday.”

The police and the paramilitary forces remained alert throughout the day and three persons were detained during the raids, said Aulakh.

Notably, since morning the Police which had laid nakas at key locations was checking vehicles and suspicious persons to ensure that all goes smooth.