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Centre says it will give all help
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 17
The Centre today appealed for calm as the volatile situation continued to prevail amidst reports of intermittent clashes between various Akali groups and followers of Dera Sacha Sauda in many parts of Punjab and Haryana.

The Cabinet meeting, held tonight under the leadership of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, however, did not review the situation prevailing in Punjab and other parts of North India.

Information and broadcasting minister Priyaranjan Dasmunshi, in reply to a pointed question, said, “Union home minister Shivraj Patil did not brief the Cabinet about the situation in Punjab.” However, Dasmunshi said the Home Ministry was closely watching the situation and was in constant touch with the state governments of Punjab and Haryana.

He appealed for calm and vigil and said that the Centre would provide all possible assistance if the state government asked for it.

Sources said the Punjab government had sought 5,000 central para military personnel and the Centre was rushing Rapid Action Force, BSF and CRPF companies to the state.

Haryana has also sought 10 companies of para military forces from the Centre as a precautionary measure as the headquarters of the Dera are in Sirsa.

Dasmunshi appealed to media, especially the electronic media, to exercise restraint and help in bringing the situation to normalcy.

Security has been stepped up and the Rapid Action Force and additional police personnel have been deployed in some parts of the Capital to prevent any violence. Tension had broken out in Keshopur, a Sikh-dominated area, in West Delhi after a group of Dera clashed with Akalis.

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