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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Punjab - Panth Brings Punjab Band

Complete and peaceful bandh Clashes at Ferozepore, Barnala; rail tracks blocked

Tribune Reporters

Hundred of Sikh protesters clashed with police personnel on the Ferozepore-Ludhiana highway today. Later, the police resorted to lathi charge to disperse them.

The clash took place when Sikh protesters wanted to enter the cantonment market which the police did not allow. Thereafter, some protesting Sikhs insisted going towards Samadhi Baba Sher Shah Wali, which led to a clash as protesters started throwing stones and bricks on police personnel. SDM D.P.S. Kharbanda tried to pacify the agitated crowd but when they situation worsened, the police retaliated with lathi charge, which left 12 protesters injured.
As the police unleashed its fury, the protesters ran in various directions looking for shelter. Some were seen climbing walls of nearby buildings to escape the onslaught. Bhagwant Singh, DC, and SSP Dinesh Pratap Singh reached the spot and brought the situation under control.
Besides a few sporadic incidents, the situation remained peaceful in other parts of the town which saw a complete bandh. The markets and shopping areas wore a deserted look as people preferred to remain inside, fearing untoward incidents. All schools, colleges, offices and business establishments remain closed.
In Makhu Sikh protesters brought the rail traffic to a halt as they entered the railway station and blocked the tracks. Senior divisional manager (operations) Vinod Bhatia said the Ahmedabad-Jammu Tawi and Dhanbad Express got delayed by over 50 minutes. He said four local trains had to be cancelled in the Hoshiarpur-Jalandhar sector as protesters blocked the railway track near Nasrala-Khurdpur.
BATHINDA: Barring the burning of effigy of Baba Ram Rahim Gurmit at Jiwan Singhwala village in this district, Bathinda, Mansa and Muktsar districts witnessed a complete but peaceful bandh.
Nau Nihal Singh, SSP, Bathinda, said eight persons who were trying to create trouble were taken into preventive custody. Apart from it, four persons had been arrested in connection with the burning of an effigy of the baba.
A round to various pockets of this region made by this correspondent revealed that in certain gurdwaras members belonging to the Sikh community assembled to lodge a peaceful protest. They also took out a march in Muktsar and nearby villages, including Jeewan Singh Wala, Bhagi Bander, Bhairupa and Bhagta Bhai Ka, in Bathinda district.
AMRITSAR: The normal life was thrown out of gear in Amritsar and its adjoining towns as the bandh call evoked a complete response with shops, business establishments and offices remaining closed. Though there was no restriction on visiting Golden Temple, many devotees, especially foreign tourists, refrained from paying their obeisance at the shrine. Sikh organisations burnt the effigies of dera chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh. There was a curfew-like situation in several places. Sikhs organisations, led by Mohkam Singh and Kanwarpal Singh, spokesmen for Damdami Taksal and Dal Khalsa, respectively, stopped some trains near Shivala here. Bhai Ram Singh, general secretary, SAD (Amritsar), and senior leaders of other Sikh organisations lodged a complaint with the local Kotwali against the dera chief for hurting sentiments of the Sikh community.
PATIALA: Life came to a halt here today due to the bandh call. All schools, colleges and business establishments remained closed.
Even the government and private buses did not ply on the roads. Students who were to appear for university examinations in Haryana faced difficulty. Sensitive areas like Arya Samaj crossing had been cordoned off. Reports of some persons trying to sit on a dharna were received from some parts of the district. However, the move was scuttled by the police.
NAWANSHAHR: A complete but peaceful bandh was observed here in the district. No untoward incident was reported in the district, SSP B. Chandra Shekher said.
BARNALA: Besides a clash between youths and the police at Rudeke Kalan village, the bandh was successful in the district. Various Sikh organisations blocked the traffic at Sanghera village on the Barnala-Ludhiana highway at Bhadarwarh and Bazid ke Kalan village. An effigy of dera head was burnt at Thekriwala and Kahneke villages. The people also held a protest march. All shops and medical stores were closed during the bandh.
NABHA: A complete bandh was observed on Tuesday in the town and nearby areas. Barring a couple of liquor vends all business establishments and shops remain closed. At Bhadson people assembled at Gurdwara Singh Sabha and tried to take out a protest march. But after being persuaded by SDM Balraj Singh Sekhon they burnt an effigy and presented a memorandum to the SDM.
As a preventive measure the police had taken a number of Sikh youths in custody from Gurdwara Ghorian Wala on Monday evening. They were let off after a warning.
HOSHIARPUR: The district virtually came to a standstill as life was thrown out of gear due to the bandh. All educational institutions and business establishments remain closed and public transport buses were off the road in the district. However medical services were unaffected.
Traffic on the Jalandhar-Hoshiarpur railway section was disrupted as activists of various Sikh organisations staged a dharna and squatted on the railway track in front of 5JH DMU train at the local railway station. Some activists also placed wooden logs on the Jalandhar-Hoshiarpur railway track near Nasrala, which were later removed by the administration.
Similar protests were held at Abohar, Malerkotla, Pathankot and Sangrur.

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