Commercial and educational establishments were shut on Thursday, and transport services disrupted in parts of Punjab, in response to a bandh called by Sikh outfits against the killing of two youths and police action during protests over desecration of Guru Granth Sahib in Faridkot.
The bandh was largely peaceful, barring minor incidents of violence at a few places where police took the protesters into preventive custody and let them off later.
Kotkapura in Faridkot, the epicentre of the protests where two youths were killed in police firing, and other areas in the district observed complete bandh.
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Other Malwa districts — Bathinda, Muktsar, Moga and Mansa — were also shut down completely. The bandh call received a lukewarm response in Ludhiana city as most of the markets were open. Students of Punjab Agricultural University and Guru Nanak Dev Engineering College (GNE) held peaceful protests.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Narinder Bhargav said no reports of violence were reported in the city.
In Amritsar, partial bandh was observed. Various Sikh bodies carried out a march from the Bhandari Bridge to Shahidan Wala Gurudwara in Amritsar. Markets remained closed till afternoon. No untoward incident was reported in the city.
The banch call evoked a good response in Doaba region where Jalandhar, Phagwara and Hoshiarpur observed an almost complete bandh.
Though buses were plying on the National Highway-1, which was blocked by Sikh activists Wednesday for half an our, all the markets and other business establishments remained shut till evening in Jalandhar, Phagwara and Hoshiarpur. The Sikh activists moved in groups and several youth were seen brandishing swords, forcing shopkeepers to close the shops.
Heavy police force was deployed across the state to maintain law and order and prevent any untoward incident. Due to the protests, the Pakistan-bound ‘Sada-e-Sarhad’ bus was diverted to an alternate route.
600 booked for Oct 14 protest
Faridkot: The Faridkot police on Thursday registered two FIRs against more than 600 people, a day after Sikh protesters clashed with the police at the Kotakapura Main Chowk and at Behbal Kalan, leading to death of two youths in police firing. The police have registered an FIR on charges of attempt to murder, damaging public property and Arms Act against 15 accused and some unidentified people. Divya Goyal