Sikhs-sponsored shutdown disrupts rail, road traffic in Punjab

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Amritsar, July 23 : Normal life was hit across Punjab on Wednesday, as activists of several Sikh organizations stopped trains and buses in response to a shutdown call given by Harnam Singh Dhuma, the chief of the Damdami Taksal (Bhindranwala) against the killing of a Sikh in Dabwali in Sirsa District on July 18, allegedly by the followers of the controversial Dera Sacha Sauda.

Sant Samaj activists squatted on railway tracks near Vala village in Amritsar District and stopped the Garib Rath Express, railway officials said.

As a precautionary measure, railway authorities stopped the Amritsar-Delhi Shatabdi Express, the Jan Shatabdi express, the Sachkhand Express and the Amritsar-Delhi Super Express from moving out of the Amritsar Railway Station.

Road traffic on national highways and other roads were also disrupted at Fatehgarh, Phagwara and Moga, officials said.

Some activists staged a protest march on the streets of Amritsar and demanded the arrest of Dera Sacha Sauda Chief Baba Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh whose security guards had also killed a person from the Sikh community in Mumbai on June 20.

Amrik Singh, an activist of Dam Dami Taksal (Bhindranwala) said that Ram Rahim should be hanged for the killing of three Sikh youths and for copying the dress of Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh Guru.

Lakhwinder Singh, another activist accused Ram Rahim of committing anti-Sikh activities.

Meanwhile, Samaj convener Harnam Singh Khalsa has assured that the shutdown "will be peaceful and essential services will not be disrupted."

Most private schools in Amritsar and private institutions at several places in Punjab remained closed. By Robin Singh

ANI

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