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Posted at: Oct 18, 2015, 1:13 AM; last updated: Oct 18, 2015, 1:13 AM (IST)BREAKING

Complete shutdown in Moga; demonstrations across Punjab

Sikh protesters continue agitation against desecration of 'bir'

Kulwinder Sandhu

Tribune News Service

Moga, October 17

Sikh protesters continued their agitation against the desecration of a ‘bir’ of Guru Granth Sahib in Moga district for the fifth consecutive day on Saturday. National and state highways as well as major link roads were blocked at nearly 30 locations.

All educational institutes and business establishments remained closed in Moga town as well as most villages in the district. Public transport also remained off roads.

The situation became tense in the town when protesters forced shops to close. The police took one youth into custody.

Protesters gathered at a local gurdwara armed with swords and sticks, while many shopkeepers insisted on opening their businesses. A heavy police force, including commandoes, was summoned to the city to prevent any violence. Finally, all business establishments were closed.

At Kot-ise-Khan town, a group of protesters led by Surjit Singh Ramgarh, armed with swords and sticks, forced shopkeepers to close. Some of them tore down banners with pictures of Agriculture Minister Tota Singh on them. They also raised slogans against him and Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, besides asking people to boycott the Akali leadership.

Protest demonstrations were also held at many other locations in Moga. At Budhsinghwala village, people ‘banned’ the entry of Akali ministers, MLAs and MPs. A similar call was also made in Dhudike village. 

Meanwhile, it was learnt that SAD (A) president Simranjit Singh Mann, AISSF president Karnail Singh Peer Mohammad, Mohkam Singh and other Sikh leaders were on their way to Moga to hold a meeting to discuss the situation arising from the Dera Sacha Sauda controversy, the incident of sacrilege, and the police action against Sikh protesters.

Protests across state

There were reports of protests in other parts of the state too. Protesters blocked the Malout-Bathinda highway near Jandwala village. The Malout-Badal continued to be blocked at Kheowali village.

Sikh protesters blocked the Jalandhar-Amritsar road at Beas. The national highway was also blocked at Phagwara.

SAD (Amritsar) president Simranjit Singh Mann led protesters at a road block at Daburji in Amritsar.

SGPC employees also took out a protest march from Hall Bazaar to the Golden Temple in Amritsar.

There were reports of protest demonstrations at around 20 places in Tarn Taran district. Police were deployed at various points in the district.

Former chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh visited the families of police firing victims in Sarawan and Niamiwala villages.

He was accompanied by Congress leaders, including  Sunil Jakhar, Karan Brar, Joginder Singh, Mohammad Saddiq, Darshan Singh Khote and Kushaldeep Dhillon.

In Haryana, various Sikh organisations took out a procession to protest against the ‘poor law and order situation’ in Punjab, demanding stringent action against officials responsible for the situation.

Meanwhile, in Bariwla village in Punjab, the police have registered a criminal case against unidentified persons for Friday’s incident of desecration of holy texts near Sarainaga village.

In Ferozepur, Deputy Commissioner DPS Kharbanda passed orders asking civic bodies and gram panchayats to deploy able-bodied men for round the clock for the protection of all religious places.

The DMU train going from Jalandhar to Ferozepur was stopped by Sikh activists near Butewala.

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