Sikhs Protest Across Punjab Over Desecration Of Holy Book

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Punjab remained blocked for the fifth day as Sikh activists stayed put on different roads, right from national highways to link roads in rural areas, on Monday. They are protesting against the sacrilege incidents and police firing on protestors in Behbal Kalan village in Faridkot on October 14, in which two persons were killed and over 90 injured. The National Highway-1 remained blocked for a few hours on Monday at Chaheru between Phagwara and Jalandhar, at PAP Chowk in Jalandhar, and at Beas. The blockade at PAP Chowk had not been lifted on Monday evening till the filing of this report. Jalandhar-Hoshiarpur Road was blocked at Adampur and Jandu Singha while Jalandhar-Kapurthala Road was blocked at Mand village. At Malsian also, the main road was blocked. Phagwara bypass, which connects NH-1 and Phagwara-Chandigarh Highway, was also blocked. All these blockades were lifted at around 1 pm. Due to blockade at the Beas, the two main connections between Majha and Doaba regions have been snapped. Another bridge on Beas River near Goindwal Sahib, which connects Kapurthala and Tarn Taran districts, has also been blocked. Giddarpindi bridge on Satluj river has also been blocked by felling trees. This bridge connects Jalandhar and Moga districts and provided connectivity between parts of Malwa and Doaba regions. Not only the highways have been blocked by protestors, even the link roads in the villages have been obstructed at several places by felling trees. Roads approaching historic town Sultanpur Lodhi

have been blocked by felling trees. Protestors have started ‘langar’ (community kitchen) near Giddarpindi bridge and at Talwandi Chaudharian village. Adopting a cautious approach after the Faridkot firing incident, the state government has told Punjab Police officials to avoid getting into argument with the protesters. Police officials are only helping divert the traffic as vehicles have to take alternate routes. Protests across Malwa Bathinda: Protests continued at various places across Bathinda, Faridkot, Moga and Barnala districts. Members of Sikh organizations and shopkeepers had heated exchanges at Bhagta in Bathinda over protesters stopping some villagers from parking tractors near the protest site and going to traders for shopping. Some Sikh outfits held a meeting at Bargari village in Faridkot and decided to continue protests till the people behind stealing the ‘bir’ were brought to book and policemen responsible for the killing of two protesters were booked for murder. “We were with the protesters and had pulled down our shutters during the bandh call last week. However, they started stopping our customers when there is no bandh call. So, we objected to it,” said a shopkeeper Mohinder Kumar. Protests continued at Talwandi Sabo, Sangat, Bhagta, Maur and Rampura in Bathinda; Bargari, Bajakhana and Dhilwan in Faridkot; Ajitwal, Bagha Purana and Nihal Singh Wala in Moga and Mehal Kalan and Pakho in Barnala. Mansa: Around 1,000 persons are staging protests on the crucial Mansa-Bathinda Road on the intersection around four kilometres from Mansa town for the past four days. They blocked the road from 10 am to 6 pm. Around 200 protestors are also sitting on Barnala-Mansa Road near Ralla village. Sangrur: In Sangrur, protesters blocked roads at five various spot for three hours from 10 am to 1 pm on Monday. A large protest was organized at Sangrur-Barnala-Bathinda highway near Barnala intersection. Other such protests were organized on Sangrur-Ludhiana highway near Dhuri; Patiala-Sunam-Mansa highway near Gharachon; Patiala-Sangrur highway near Fagguwala village and on Sangrur-Nabha road near Samundgarh Chhana village. Ferozepur: Protests over desecration of ‘birs’ refused to die down on Monday with Sikh activists blocking Ferozepur-Moga Road for three hours. Though the situation in town and Ferozepur Cantonment remained tense, shops and other business establishments remained open. Heavy police force was deployed on almost all major points and bazaars. Protesters also blocked

the Ferozepur-Moga Road near octroi post number seven for three hours causing inconvenience to the commuters.

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