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Punjab limping back to normalcy

The sensitive areas of the state are under the close vigil of paramilitary forces and the state police.
PTI | By HT Correspondent, Chandigarh
UPDATED ON MAY 19, 2007 11:09 AM IST

Several parts of Punjab which witnessed sporadic sectarian violence over the last few days were on Saturday limping back to normalcy amidst a tight security cover.

The sensitive areas, including Bathinda, Sangrur, Patiala and Ludhiana which form part of Malwa region of the state are under the close vigil of paramilitary forces and the state police, officials said in Chandigarh.

IG (Zonal), Patiala, N K Tiwari said in Chittagong that the situation in the state was "very peaceful."

Notwithstanding an appeal by major political parties, including ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), BJP and opposition Congress to the people of the state to maintain peace and communal harmony, the stand off between head of Dera Sacha Sauda and key religious and some fundamental Sikh organisations continued.

While Dera head Baba Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh appears to be in no mood to render an apology for his alleged blasphemy, some Sikh organisations with extremist ideology, including Damdami Taksal had fixed Sunday's deadline for the state administration to arrest the Baba.

Sectarian violence erupted in the state on May 14 after newspapers carried an advertisement showing the Dera head allegedly imitating the tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh.

Clashes at some places left around 100 people injured and claimed the life of one person at Sunam in Sangrur district.

Meanwhile, an uneasy calm continued to prevail at the headquarters of Dera Sacha Sauda at Sirsa in neighbouring Haryana.

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