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Posted at: Oct 18, 2015, 6:24 PM; last updated: Oct 18, 2015, 6:24 PM (IST)

‘Bir’ desecration: Protesting villager dies in Tarn Taran

‘Bir’ desecration: Protesting villager dies in Tarn Taran
Sikh activists holding protest at Aklia village of Mansa district. A Tribune file photo

Gurbax Puri

Tribune News Service

Tarn Taran/Chandigarh, October 18

A villager, who was taking part in a protest dharna at Harike in Tarn Taran against the alleged desecration of Guru Granth Sahib, died of cardiac arrest on Sunday.

The body of Pooran Singh (54), a resident of Dhollan village, was preserved by making arrangements at the dharna site. The radical Sikh organisations have decided against cremating the body.

The agitation was the aftermath of “desecration” of the holy book at Bath village two days back. A complete bandh was witnessed in the border district for the second consecutive day, throwing normal life out of gear.

An Akhand Path has been started at Bath village where the pages of Guru Granth Sahib were torn by unidentified miscreants two days back. The ‘bhog’ of Sri Akhand Path would be performed on Tuesday. Surjit Singh, president of Bath Gurdwara Committee, said the village ‘sangat’ was staging dharna in the village since the day of the incident.

The district administration led by Deputy Commissioner Balwinder Singh Dhaliwal has appealed to the masses to maintain peace.

The district has turned a fortress with heavy police force deployed, while entry and exit points have been sealed. The district and police administration are keeping a close watch on the situation.

Sikh protesters continue agitation, block roads in Malwa

Meanwhile, Sikhs protesting against the desecration of a ‘bir’ of Guru Granth Sahib continued their agitation on Sunday, blocking roads at several spots in Punjab’s Malwa region.

The blockade, however, was reduced to one location in each district from Sunday instead of several locations.

Protest leaders said the road blockade would be from 10 am to 1 pm so that ordinary people, particularly motorists, do not face much inconvenience.

The protesters carried black flags and placards and brandished swords and sticks. Sikh activists also attacked a policeman reportedly filming the protest on his phone in Kartarpur, Jalandhar.

The blockade, in the past week, had affected life in Malwa region. The worst hit were Moga, Faridkot and Bathinda districts, the police said.

Sikh protesters today continued their agitation at 11 locations in Moga district, blocking major national and state highways. However, shopkeepers started opening shops in Moga city after a joint appeal was made by the Deputy Commissioner and the Mayor.

Meanwhile, Sikh activists in Moga city damaged the vehicles of SGPC member Satpal Singh who had reportedly come to attend a “secret” meeting of the Akali Dal to discuss the current situation.

The revised protests will continue till October 25, when the ‘bhog’ of those killed in police firing will be held. The protests, called by radical Sikh groups, are against the “desecration” of Guru Granth Sahib. The protesters want action against those involved in the alleged desecration.

A ‘bir’ (holy book) was desecrated in Bargari village, 15 km from Kotkapura, leading to tension on October 12. Over 100 pages of the Sikh holy book, which was stolen in June, were found scattered on a street near a gurdwara.

At least two persons were killed and nearly 70 injured, including police officials, on Wednesday in clashes between the police and Sikhs near Kotkapura town in Faridkot district.

The two victims are yet to be cremated.

In Amritsar, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Saturday offered prayers at Harmandar Sahib, popularly known as Golden Temple, for peace and communal harmony.

Congress leader Amarinder Singh on Saturday visited the families of the two persons killed in police firing. (With inputs from IANS)

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