Protests, roadblocks continue in Punjab over desecration

Chandigarh, Oct 19 (IANS) People, especially motorists, continued to face inconvenience on Monday at various places across Punjab as Sikhs raised roadblocks and held protests against the recent desecration of Sikh holy book Guru Granth Sahib.

A clash was reported between Sikh protestors and shopkeepers in the congested Mai Hira gate area of Jalandhar city, 160 km from here, when protestors tried to force closure of some shops. Police intervened to control the situation.

Multiple roadblocks continued to hamper traffic across Punjab. There were reports that protestors, many of them brandishing swords and sticks, tried to damage vehicles at a few places.

The worst affected districts were Moga, Faridkot, Amritsar, Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Ferozepur and Muktsar.

In Jalandhar, protestors blocked the road at Punjab Armed Police Chowk, Kapurthala Chowk and other places. Road links between Jalandhar and Amritsar, Hoshiarpur, Phagwara and Kapurthala remained cut off for several hours.

In Muktsar district, roadblocks were put up on the Muktsar-Bathinda, Muktsar-Kotkapura, Malout-Bathinda and a few other roads. The Ferozepur-Moga highway was also blockaded.

Reports said protestors also blockaded the Phagwara-Nawanshahr road at Banga town, 95 km from here, and the Jalandhar-Hoshiarpur highway at Adampur town, 25 km from Jalandhar.

The protests, called by radical Sikh organisations, are against the desecration of Guru Granth Sahib. The protestors are demanding action against those involved in the crime.

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

At least two people were killed and nearly 70 injured, including police officials, on Wednesday in bloody clashes between police and protesting Sikhs near Kotkapura town in Punjab’s Faridkot district, 230 km from here.

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