EVEN AS police and central paramilitary forces were keeping a close vigil on the situation in the state, which is limping back to normal, there were reports of protests by Sikh organisations in various parts of the state.
In Phagwara, the protesters formed nearly half-a-km-long human chain on the footpath along the National Highway-1 on Phagwara-Hoshiarpur-Sugar Mill over bridge.
However, the traffic continued normally on both sides of the highway towards Jalandhar and Ludhiana, much to the relief of commuters.
The protesters were alleging that the two brothers, Rupinder Singh and Jaswinder Singh, arrested for desecration at Baragari village in Faridkot have been framed. They also demanding the re-instatement of the suspended ‘Panj Pyaras’.
The protesters stood on the footpath and the centre verge of the NH-1 for hours with placards carrying slogans against the government. The dharna was lifted later after persuasion by City SHO Surinder Singh.
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In Hoshiarpur, a peaceful protest was taken out under the leadership of Baba Sewa Singh, a close confidant of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal who had recently resigned from Sant Samaj. Protesters, both men and women, wore black turbans and dupatta as marks of protest. They chanted ‘Path’ as well as “gurubani”. They later submitted a memorandum at the DC office against the incidents of sacrilege.
A protest outside the residence of SAD MLA Mohinder Kaur Josh was also held in Hoshiarpur.
In Gurdaspur’s Kahnuwan area, Sikh protesters gheraoed the house of SAD leader and former minister Sewa Singh Sekhwan. Police’s efforts to stop them were in vain.
Protesters sat on dharna at Jalandhar-Amritsar bypass in Amritsar district while a ‘path’ also continued.
Protests dominated the districts Faridkot, Barnala, Sangrur and Ferozepur even as Ludhiana and Moga remained comparatively calm. In Moga, the Main Chowk was blocked by protesters for three hours.
A protest march led by Sikh preachers was taken out from Panjgrain Khurd, the village of the two arrested brothers, Rupinder Singh and Jaswinder Singh, to the office of Faridkot deputy commissioner against police action. The protesters submitted a memorandum to DC M S Jaggi, demanding release of the two brothers and a fair investigation in desecration cases.
At Mehal Kalan in Barnala, the indefinite dharna continued but protesters had vacated one side of the road to let commuters to pass. There were no blockades on the Ludhiana-Ferozepur National Highway.
Protests were also held in Bargari village, where the torn pages of the Guru Granth Sahib were found, and in Behbal Kalan where police firing killed two protesters.
Faridkot was completely choked with its four approach roads being blocked by protesters. The roads were also blocked in Baghapurana town, near Dagru railway crossing, and near Rode village, the native village of Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale on Moga-Kotakapura road.