Curfew in Jalandhar after attack on Dera chief in Vienna
Curfew was clamped in Jalandhar city on Sunday night and Army alerted as tension gripped this district after violence flared up and protestors resorted to arson within hours after the head of a Dera sect was attacked in a Gurudwara shootout in Vienna.
Six buses were damaged in stone-pelting in Phagwara and Adampur, near Jalandhar, and a truck torched while traffic was blocked on a National Highway no One. An ATM of a bank was also set on fire.
Police said curfew was clamped in Jalandhar town as a precautionary measure and Army has been alerted.
The Jalandhar cantonment station was attacked by protestors who targeted a EMU train and a passenger train, police said, adding, two express trains including an Amritsar-bound Shatabdi was stranded at the station in Jalandhar after protestors gathered there in large numbers.
Tension gripped Jalandhar when followers of Dera Sachkhand and various Dalit bodies took to the streets after the news of firing on Sant Niranjan Dass, the Dera head, in the Austrian capital spread. The Dera was established by Sant Sarwan Dass and Sant Niranjan Dass is the current incumbent (Gadi Nasheen).
Activists of various Dalit bodies, including Ambedkar Sena and BSP, blocked vehicular traffic in Phagwara for nearly an hour on National Highway No 1 on the over-bridge near Sugar Mill crossing to protest the Vienna incident, police said.
Some of the protesters pelted stones at vehicles, damaging three buses, they said, adding no passenger was injured in the incident. Three buses were attacked in Adampur.
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his son and deputy Sukhbir Singh Badal appealed to all Punjabis to maintain calm.
Protesters also gave a call for Phagwara bandh on Monday.
In Buta Mandi locality in Phagwara, followers of the sect torched a truck parked in the area, police said.
Senior Superintendent of Police RK Jaiswal said policemen have been deployed at sensitive points to check any untoward incident. Hundreds of the Dera followers have also assembled at the Dera premises at Ballan village.
At least 11 people were injured, nine of them seriously when two groups of Sikh worshippers clashed with knives and handgun at a gurdwara in Vienna on Sunday, Vienna police said.
The fight erupted following a dispute over the sermon given by a priest from Shri Guru Ravidas Sabha.
At least six men, one wielding a gun and the others knives, attacked the preacher and others.