Dera row: Normal life in Punjab takes a hit, courtesy bandh
22 May, 2007
CHANDIGARH: Normal life has been partially affected in Punjab on Tuesday following a day-long bandh called by the Sikh high priests to protest against the Dera Sacha Sauda head Ram Raheem Singh's alleged imitation of the tenth Sikh Guru Gobind Singh in an advertisement. No violence has been reported from any part of the state during the first two hours of the bandh. According to officials, as many as 3,600 paramilitary personnel have already been deployed in sensitive areas across Punjab. In response to the call for bandh, educational institutions and many commercial establishments remained shut. Road traffic, meanwhile, has been affected in many parts of the state including Bhatinda, Sangrur and Faridkot districts. Buses operated by Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan governments also stayed off the roads. However, long-distance train services have not been affected by the bandh, railway officials said. A ring of three-tier security has been thrown around the branches of the Sirsa-based sect in Punjab, including its biggest Dera in Salabatpura village in Bhatinda district. The examinations slated for Tuesday in universities and colleges in the state have been postponed in the wake of the bandh call.