A day after 21 pages of the Guru Granth Sahib were found torn inside a gurdwara in Baath village of Tarn Taran district, the city as well as its adjoining areas witnessed a complete shutdown on Saturday.
On Friday, a woman, who had gone to the gurdwara for reciting gurbani at 3 pm, found as many as 21 pages of a ‘bir’ of Guru Granth Sahib torn . As the incident came to light, around 500 persons from village and its surrounding areas gathered near the gurdwara, demanding arrest of those behind the sacrilege.
On Saturday, since early morning, angry protesters had come out on the streets and led protest marches at various places demanding arrest of those behind the act. Men walked with kirpans on the streets asking the shopkeepers to shut their shops.
Meanwhile, people from nearby villages also poured into the city. Protesters also cut trees and blocked the Tarn Taran-Sri Ganganagar National Highway.
Congress general secretary Harminder Singh Gill, United Akali Dal (UAD) general secretary Satnam Singh Manawa and Sikh Youth Federation (Bhindranwala) president Dr Gurjinder Singh also staged a sit-in.
Blaming the Badal government for the crisis, Harminder Singh Gill said: “The situation in Punjab is worse than the Sikh-Nirankari episode of 1978. Punjab’s home minister Sukhbir Singh Badal should resign for his inefficiency in controlling the situation and President Rule should be imposed in the state.”
“I participated in the protest not as a Congress leader but as a Sikh. Every politician should take part in this struggle irrespective of their political ideology to restore the respect and dignity of the Guru Granth Sahib,” he added.
He also sought resignation of the Sikh clergy for pushing the community into a crisis that was dictated by Badal family for its own vested political interests.
At Patti, around 23 kms From Tarn Taran, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) members also staged a protest against the alleged desecration of the holy book.
Earlier this week, around 100 pages of the holy book were found torn at a village near Kotkapura town of Farikot district that led to violent clashes between the police and the protesters, leaving two dead and injuring more than 60.