Ludhiana tense as curfew continues

 
With radical Sikh organisations led by Damdami Taksal calling for a Ludhiana ‘bandh’ (shutdown) on Sunday and continuing with their ‘dharna’ (protest) near Samrala crossing on the Ludhiana-Chandigarh highway, Punjab Police and para-military forces remained on high alert to maintain peace.

“The situation is quite tense. The curfew continues but our dharna is on near Samrala Chowk,” radical Sikh leader Kanwarpal Singh of the Dal Khalsa said.

Sikh organisations have called for a Punjab bandh on Monday (December 7).

One person was killed and over 15 injured on Saturday after the police fired on Sikh protesters who were proceeding to disrupt a religious and spiritual conference of the controversial sect leader Ashutosh Maharaj who heads the Nurmahal-based (near Jalandhar) Divya Jyoti Jagriti Sansthan.

Radical Sikh organisations wanted the sect conference to be cancelled. Sikh leaders and the sect head have been at loggerheads for several years over his alleged comments on the Sikh religion and its gurus.

The second day of the conference scheduled on Sunday has been called off at the insistence of local authorities.

Life in the city has been in turmoil in the last two days due to the violence. Hundreds of industrial units remained closed on both days fearing trouble.

Reports of protests on Saturday evening were received from Jalandhar and Phagwara towns also. This caused traffic jams in both cities, about 55 km and 40 km from here respectively.

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