MUCH to the relief of commuters, some Sikh organisations — which have been blocking most of Punjab’s roads since October 13 — have finally decided to lift their indefinite dharnas except at Bargari village in Kotakpura, where the torn pages of the Guru Granth Sahib were found.
In the remaining districts, the agitation will be replaced by three-hour dharnas at one road till October 25, when the Bhog ceremony will be held for the two victims of police firing.
The Sikh bodies have, however, handed the Punjab government an ultimatum to nab those responsible for the sacrilege of the Guru Granth Sahib at various places in the state, before October 25.
Sikh preachers, Panthpreet Singh and Ranjit Singh Dhadrianwale, and former Akal Takht jathedar Giani Kewal Singh made the announcement at Bathinda on Saturday evening. They are the key faces behind the protests.
Panthpreet Singh said the dharnas will now be held between 10 am and 1 pm and the venue will be picked by local heads of the Sikh organisations. He added that the decision to lift the indefinite dharnas was taken in ‘larger public interest’.
“Messages have been floated to supporters across the state to clear the roads which they will do once it reaches them,” Panthpreet said.
SGPC calls for ‘vigilante’ squads
The SGPC, meanwhile, is planning to set up vigilante squads for gurdwaras in the villages with the help of panchayats to prevent incidents of desecration of the holy text. “We are mulling having vigilante squads with the help of villagers and gurdwara committee members. SGPC would offer financial assistance required for such a task force,” said SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar. SGPC, meanwhile, has directed its members to direct local gurdwara committees for round-the-clock vigil in gurdwaras.
The proposal found an an echo in the Malwa districts, where the district administrations have ordered panchayats to step up security at religious places by forming vigilante teams comprising local youth.
(With inputs from Navjeevan Gopal)