Bandh hampers life in the region
CHANDIGARH: As is their wont, protest and bandhs usually leave the common man stranded and grumbling on the street. Having gained the notoriety of paralyzing essential services, the agitations — as witnessed in the region on Wednesday — reduce the authorities to mere spectators as angry, often sword-wielding protesters, hold everyday life to ransom.
Normal life was affected in Fatehabad and Sirsa districts of Haryana during a day-long bandh in the neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana on Wednesday. Sikh organizations — led by Sant Samaj — had given the bandh call to press for the arrest of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh. While there was complete band in Sirsa and Fatehabad districts, the bandh received a mixed response in Karnal, Hisar, Yamunanagar, Ambala, Kurukshetra and Jind districts. Police had to resort to lathicharge at three places — Ratia, Fatehabad and Farakpur in Yamunanagar district.
In Fatehabad, Sikhs and supporters of Dera Sacha Sauda clashed when the former tried to forcibly close down shops, leaving six persons injured. Duty magistrate Gyan Chand also received minor injuries in the melee as police restored to heavy lathicharge.
Getting information about the clash, president of Shree Guru Granth Sahib Satkar Sabha Sukhvinder Singh Khalsa rushed to Fatehabad, but the police rounded him up. He was allowed to go later. Three persons were also arrested for rioting. In Ratia, two Sikhs received injuries during the clashes with Dera followers.
Shops remained closed in Sirsa district and Dabwali town, which witnessed violence last week following a clash between Dera followers and Sikhs that left one person dead and several injured. In Dabwali, authorities clamped night curfew on the town, with a breather during daytime. However, shops remained closed there.