Ludhiana: One killed and 12 injured in protest against Ashutosh Maharaj's visit

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Ludhiana, Dec 5 (ANI): One man was killed and twelve others were injured, when the police opened fire at the members of the protesting Sikh organisations. The protestors were pelting stones at the police.

The members of several Sikh outfits took to the streets here today, protesting against the arrival of a controversial religious leader Ashutosh Maharaj, who has not found favour with the Sikh groups for allegedly preaching against their religion.

The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel also stepped in to provide heavy security amidst the ongoing protests.

Several activists from the youth wing of the Bharatiya Janata Party, an ally of the ruling Akali Dal in the state, also congregated outside the venue.

"This public discourse which is being held in Ludhiana city for two days by Ashutosh Maharaj will be held in a proper manner. No body can create any obstruction in it. If they (Sikh protestors) come here, the Hindu youngsters have gathered here to take care of that. Punjab police and a CRPF battalion have also reached here," said Sanjay Kapoor, President, youth wing, Bharatiya Janata Party.

The police officials had to open fire and throw tear gas to disperse the protestors, who had almost reached close to the spot where Ashutosh Maharaj had started addressing the conference.any protestors got injured in the ensuing violence.

Radical group leaders like Bhai Mohkam Singh, Convenor of Khalsa Action Committee, Kanwarpal Singh Bittu of Dal Khalsa, Baljit Singh Daduwal, Ranjit Singh and Jasbir Singh Rode were also among those who led the procession.

Tomorrow's conference has been called off due to the ongoing protests.

Swami Ashutosh Maharaj heads an organisation named Divya Jyoti Jagriti Sansthan (DJSS).

The reports claim Ashutosh Maharaj of promoting Hinduism and being backed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

Swami Ashutosh Maharaj is not in the good books of the Sikhs since 1980s, when he allegedly spoke against the religious text of the Sikhs, Guru Granth Sahib.

The Sikh organisations have made up their minds asserting that they would not allow the meeting to take place. (ANI)

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