The Punjab bandh call given by radical Sikh organisations to protest against the pardon granted to Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh by the Akal Takht and also by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) fizzled out in Patiala, Fatehgarh Sahib and Sangrur districts.
Radical Sikh organisation Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) had given the call.
With the police maintaining a strict vigil, protestors were rounded up and forcible closure of shops was not allowed.
At Patiala, the police rounded up a dozen radical members of SAD (A), who led by Professor Mohinderpal were forcing the shopkeepers to shut shops. Heavy police was deployed in the city to keep a tab on activities of radicals and the hardliners.
Simranjit Singh Mann put under house arrest
The bandh call made little impact in Fatehgarh Sahib with the police deploying a posse of policeman to prevent any untoward incident. SAD (A) headquarter ‘Quila Harnam Das’ in Fatehgarh Sahib was also cordoned off.
Sources claimed that SAD (A) president Simranjit Singh Mann was put under house arrest and not allowed to move outside.
Early morning, there were some reports of party workers requesting shop owners to close and some did comply. Later, the police took some SAD (A) members to the police station and the market reopened.
SAD (A) farmer’s wing state president Jaskaran Singh claimed, “Our workers were peacefully requesting traders to shut shop. Still, our leaders were put under house arrest.”
He said, “The pardon granted to the dera chief is unethical and the decision was taken under pressure from chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, who put the whole community in danger, just to save his own government.”
Sangrur remains normal
All shops, offices, schools and colleges functioned as usual on Wednesday, in spite of the bandh call. Even government buses plied as usual. Gurmail Singh Rampur led the protest in the city and some radicals even gathered at the Singh Sabha Gurdwara near old bus stand and raised slogans. Later, they courted arrest and were taken away in police vehicles.
Akalis arrested in Nabha
There was lukewarm response from the locals. In a joint operation, the Bhadson and Nabha police arrested Akali Dal leader Paramjit Singh Sahouli from his residence and detained him in Bhadson police station.
Mixed response in Barnala
With more than 600 police personnel on the city’s roads, banks and educational institutes remained open in Barnala city, but shopkeepers downed their shutters for a while. More than 250 people from Mehal Kalan, Dhaula, Rajia, Pandher villages were taken into preventive custody.
People tried to block traffic in Chauhanke village on the Barnala-Ludhiana road, but the police foiled their plan.