Monday, June 16, 2003, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Devotees throng Talhan shrine
Curfew relaxation brings relief
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Talhan (Jalandhar), June 15
Countless devotees and residents of this village heaved a sigh of relief as the situation started returning to normalcy here  in the aftermath of yesterday’s peace agreement. No untoward incident was reported during the curfew relaxation given by the administration separately for villagers and outsiders today.

Meanwhile, devotees from far and wide thronged Gurdwara Shahid Baba Nihal Singh to say their prayers during the curfew relaxation for outsiders between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. The relaxation for residents of the village was between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. About 10,000 to 15,000 devotees used to visit the shrine on Sunday for saying their prayers. It was for the first time that they could not perform their prayers on June 8 because of the imposition of curfew by the administration.

The devotees, at the same time, hailed the decision of the administration to relax the curfew which enabled them to have “Darshan” of the shrine.

 Talking to The Tribune, Mr Manjit Singh, who had come from Toronto in Canada to pay his respects at the gurdwara, said he tried to come to the gurdwara every year as he had a lot of faith. “Only this time, I had to face some difficulty. Anyway, I feel happy that I am able to pay my obeisance finally.”

Mr Gurvinder Singh, who had come from Faridabad with his family and who maintained that his family had been visiting the shrine regularly for past about 50 years, said he was happy to come to the place and to observe that both communities had been able to resolve the problem.

His uncle, Mr Balwinder Singh, said the developments were unfortunate and uncalled for, particularly, when these occurred at a place where the two communities were living in a very congenial atmosphere for hundreds of years. “Problem should have been solved much earlier. It was sheer ‘nalaiki’ of the government,” he added.

Mr Manohar Singh, a resident of Jalandhar who claimed that he was visiting the place on every Sunday for the past 20 years, said he was happy to reach the place.

The villagers have also hailed the agreement and relaxation in curfew. “It is a wise step. It will enable both communities to live together peacefully. The relaxation of curfew has brought a sigh of relief,” said Mr Buta Singh. Similarly, Mr Jang Bahadur Singh, a member of the gurdwara management committee said the problem should have been tackled at a much earlier stage.

Mr Bhupinder Kumar and Mr Sunil, two residents of the village, maintained that though the matter was resolved but bitterness was still in the air. “Members of both communities still do not go to each other’s areas. That will take some time.” Similarly, Mr Bhupinder Kumar, another resident, said people of the two communities still hesitated to come face to face with each other. He also criticised the authorities for “wrong” timings of relaxation. “We cannot do any work as it is very hot outside between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.” he rued.Back

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