Punjab tense but peaceful
A statewide bandh (shutdown) was observed in several Punjab towns including Jalandhar, parts of Ludhiana, Patiala, Sangrur, Moga, Bathinda and Faridkot areas following the killing of two persons in police firing who were protesting against the sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib near Kotpapura town. Call for bandh was given by Sant Samaj and some other Sikh organisations.
Pages of Guru Granth Sahib were found scattered in Bargari village on Kotkapura-Bathinda highway triggering protest. The pages were said to be from the Bir of Guru Granth Sahib that was reported stolen on June 1. Later on a poster appeared in Bargari village about the Bir with a warning to the Sikhs.
Protesters staged demonstration in Amritsar wearing black robes.The Sikh organisations have resolved to carry on the agitation demanding the arrest of the culprits.
The police early in the morning opened fire on the protesters staging a peaceful dharna in Kotkapura at the main crossing blocking traffic towards Bathinda and Moga. The Sikh organisations say that the police took no action when the followers of Dera sacha Sauda blocked traffic demanding the screening of MSG 2 film.
Some Sikh groups are alleging that incident of sacrillege of Guru Granth Sahib is a conspiracy to divert the attention of people from pardoning of dera sacha sauda chief by Sri Akal Takhat and agitation for farmers. Farmers unions have already announced the second phase of their agitation to gherao Punjabi ministers and Akali MLAs.
While reacting to the incident, Delhi Gurdwara management committee (DSGMC) President Manjit Singh GK and General secretary Manjinder Singh Sirsa has demanded registration of a case of murder against those behind sacrilege of Shri Guru Granth Sahib in village Bargadi of District Faridkot and also demanded stern action against the Punjab Police jawans who fired on the Sikh sangat holding peaceful protest in Kotkapura.
Several areas in Punjab were partially shut following a bandh called by Sikh organizations. Heavy police force has been deployed at sensitive areas to maintain law and order as commercial and private educational institution at many places like Faridkot, Moga, Muktsar and parts of Tarn Taran remained shut.
While private bus operators kept off the roads, banks and pharmacies were kept out of the shutdown’s purview.
The bandh was called in Faridkot, Moga, Fazilka, Ferozepur, Muktsar, Bathinda and Barnala over the desecration and its fallout.