Terror, turbulent times

Terror, turbulent times

Given a choice, Punjab would want to write off the year that went by. The memories left behind were chilling, unsettling and chaotic, to say the least. Punjab was rocked by a series of unforgiving incidents–a major terror strike to inflammable incidents of sacrilege, farmers unrest to the jeopardizing clemency to a sect head—all exposing the regime’s vulnerability.

Many felt, it was a glimpse, rather the making of the terrible dark 80’s that left Punjab bleeding, profusely.

Terror strikes
The Dinanagar terror strike was the bloodiest attack Punjab witnessed in recent times. Three heavily armed terrorists crossed over from Pakistan to Punjab spraying  bullets indiscriminately before storming a police station. Ten people, including 3 militants, were killed in the bloody battle. The attack underlined Punjab’s vulnerability as it presented an opportunity for non-state actors in Pakistan to look at Punjab bounds as the new theater for terror strike.

Over a dozen incidents of desecration of the Sikh holy book put Punjab on the boil, triggering violent protests. At stake was Punjab’s hard-earned peace.

Police take action
These incidents hurt religious sentiments of the majority of the community. The police arrested two brothers and accused them of sacrilege. It even coined the foreign conspiracy angle. But it blew up in its face. Trouble continued to pour out as a chain reaction. The police opened fire at two Sikhs protesting against sacrilege. Both died. It triggered massive protests. All coincided with the farmers unrest following the total damage of cotton crop owing to the attack of the white fly. Farmers squatted on rail tracks disrupting normal life for over a week. The protests still continue.

The social unrest of sorts that Punjab was undergoing spiraled into another chaos over the clemency granted by the Akal Takht to a Dera sect chief. The sect head, who was accused of blasphemy in 2008, was pardoned.

Protests
This outraged the Sikh community, leading to widespread protests led by radicals. A mega Sikh congregation was called where the head priest of the revered Golden temple was “replaced” by Jagtar Hawara, the assassin of former Punjab CM Beant Singh. The resolution although had no authority.

The fag end of the year saw former chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh as the Punjab Congress chief.

The changeover was vital to infuse a sense of unity and resurgence within the beleaguered Congress. Capt disclosed his party's intention for a Bihar-like grand alliance in Punjab.

The formidable AAP suspended two out of its four Punjab MP's following a rebellion of sorts. Twelve months hit the government’s image, equally for the Badal's.

The Moga bus incident, where a teenage girl died after being thrown out of a bus owned by the Badal family, sparked outrage and protest.
DH News Service

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