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Partial impact of bandh in Punjab; protesters held in Moga, Bathinda

The Moga police on Wednesday thrashed and arrested Sikh hardliner protesters who were asking people to close market on call of bandh against exoneration of Dera Dacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh. The bandh call given by United Akali Dal, Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) and few other Sikh organizations, had partial impact in Moga where only business establishments remained closed.

punjab Updated: Sep 30, 2015 13:25 IST
HT Correspondents
HT Correspondents
Hindustan Times
Police arrest protesting Sikhs as precautionary measure in Patiala on Wednesday.(Bharat Bhushan/HT)

Police cane-charged activists of Sikh organisations when they were trying to force shopkeepers to down shutters during a Punjab bandh call given by some Sikh outfits in protest against the decision of Akal Takht to pardon Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.

Most shops and commercial establishments on Wednesday remained shut in the district.

Police used batons to disperse a group of about 50 activists of various Sikh organisations when they were trying to force people to close down their shops.

Despite the bandh call, shopkeepers of Moga’s main markets, including on Partap Singh road, opened their shops at around 10:30 AM. However after the protest from Sikh outfits, shopkeepers decided to down their shutters to protect their properties.

Harjit Singh Pannu, Superintendent Police (D) Moga, said police force has been deployed in front of Gurdwaras at Dharmakot, Kot Ise khan, Moga, Baghapurana and Nihal Singh Wala.

All India Sikh Students Federation President Karnail Singh Peermohammed claimed Faridkot police conducted a raid at his residence. He said the bandh was completely peaceful in the city.

Around 20 people were also arrested in Bathinda, though the bandh call failed to have any major impact.

Meanwhile, the Amritsar city witnessed complete normalcy on Wednesday.

The markets were open since morning and the public transport, schools and other educational institutes also operated in routine.

Heavy police was also deployed in the city since early morning.

Talking to HT, Amritsar Police Commissioner Jatinder Singh Aulakh said: “The city is completely normal and all the markets and other commercial establishments are open. Heavy police has been deployed to ensure that no mishap takes place.”

The police also rounded up some protesters in Jalandhar and Patiala cities though the bandh failed to have any major impact.

While in Ludiana, the impact of the Bandh call remained ineffective. Taking no chances, police beefed up security in the city since early morning. Commissioner of Police Paramraj Singh Umranangal and deputy commissioner of police (DCP) Narinder Bhargava were also on their toes.

The DCP said apart from the 3,000 cops of police commissionerate, two companies from Indian Reserve Battalion were also pressed in for the job.

Meanwhile, educational institutions and business establishment remained opened in the city.

Sikh organisations including the Federation, Dam Dami Taksal, Akali Dal (Delhi) and United Akali Dal had called for a Punjab bandh on Wednesday in protest against the decision of Akal Takht to pardon the Dera Sacha Sauda head for alleged blasphemous act in 2007.

The Jathehdar or chief priest of Akal Takht, the apex religious body of Sikhs, last evening announced setting up of a committee to discuss the entire issue in the wake of the protest.

(With Agency inputs)

First Published: Sep 30, 2015 12:50 IST