Normal life was crippled across Punjab which witnessed sporadic violence during the day-long shutdown,called by radical Sikh outfits,today to protest the scheduled hanging of Balwant Singh Rajoana,a convict in the Beant Singh assassination case.
Most business establishments were shut and road and rail traffic was disrupted at many places as Sikhs,sporting saffron headgears,hit the streets in support of the Babbar Khalsa militant.
Brandishing swords,Sikh youths,riding on motorcycles,moved around chanting slogans in favour of Rajoana,lodged in the Patiala Central Jail.
Saffron flags dotted marketplaces and house-tops in cities and villages as women too joined the protest expressing solidarity with Rajoana.
Areas around the Golden Temple,the main sacred place of Sikhs,were clogged with proteseters carrying saffron flags.
Board examinations,slated for today,were postponed with offices,private institutions,colleges and schools reporting thin attendance.
Reports of skirmishes between protesters and right-wing Hindu activists were received from several places including Patiala,Kapurthala,Gurdaspur,Jalandhar,Phagwara,Bathinda and Ropar,officials said.
AISSF chief Karnail Singh Peermohmad and other radical leaders claimed the bandh was “total and successful”.
The protesters stopped New Delhi Amritsar Shan-e-Punjab at Jalandhar and Mumbai-Jammu Swaraj express at a crossing in Hoshiarpur district for brief periods.
Police swung batons to disperse them and restore calm.