Punjab’s Doaba shuts down over demolition of shrine
Protesters blocked road traffic at various places, including on the Jalandhar-Delhi national highway. Protest marches were taken out at several places as people held protests, burnt effigies and placed burning tyres on roads. In Jalandhar and Hoshiarpur, protesters carrying swords went around in markets in cars and bikes.Updated: Aug 14, 2019 01:43 IST
Shops, businesses and school shut down in Punjab’s Doaba region and road traffic blocked on Tuesday in response to a call given by the Ravidassia community against the demolition of a temple dedicated to the sect’s founder, Ravidas, in New Delhi’s Tughlakabad.
In Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur, Kapurthala and SBS Nagar, shops, banks, and commercial establishments remained shut while educational institutions were ordered to be closed by authorities as a precautionary measure.
Protesters blocked road traffic at various places, including on the Jalandhar-Delhi national highway. Protest marches were taken out at several places as people held protests, burnt effigies and placed burning tyres on roads. In Jalandhar and Hoshiarpur, protesters carrying swords went around in markets in cars and bikes.
The protestors held the central government responsible for the demolition and threatened to intensify their protest if the temple was not restored.
Delhi Social Welfare Minister Rajendra Pal Gautam had on Monday alleged that the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) demolished the temple in the presence of a police force last Saturday and the statue was “taken away”. The DDA, however, did not use the word temple and said the “structure was removed as per the orders of the Supreme Court”.
In Jalandhar, protesters supported by Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) workers braved heavy rain and held demonstrations. Local Congress MP Santokh Singh Chaudhary and party MLAs also joined the protests.
A number of Akali Dal MLAs backed the demonstrations.
In Hoshiarpur, some shopkeepers and protesters clashed when some protesters damaged three open shops , police said. In Amritsar, most of the private schools and colleges remained closed.
Phagwara saw a complete shutdown and a protest march supported by various political parties. They blocked the Jalandhar-Ludhiana highway, Phagwara-Nakodar, Phagwara-Hoshiarpur and Phagwara Nawanshahr-Chandigarh roads. Several roads wore a desolate look and markets were deserted.
Kapurthala city observed a complete bandh as all commercial establishments remained closed and bus services were suspended on several routes. In Gurdaspur district, the bandh evoked a mixed response.
Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) president Gobind Singh Longowal and Akal Takht ‘jathedar’ Giani Harpreet Singh strongly condemned the temple demolition.
(with agency inputs)