Peaceful 'Bandh' paralyses life in Jammu

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Jammu, May 22: A complete, but peaceful, strike by several Sikh organisations today paralysed normal life here.

Business establishments, educational institutions and shops in Jammu remained closed in support of the 'Punjab bandh' called by the Akal Takht, following the allegations that Dera Sacha Sauda Chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh had donned the attire of the tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Govind Singh.

Police said hundreds of sikhs, raising slogans against the Dera Chief, burnt his effigies at various places in this region. They demanded action against Sant Gurmeet Singh for his alleged ''blasphemous'' activities.

Several processions raising anti-Dera slogans were taken out in the city and its outskirts.

Sikhs, holding bare swords, staged protest demonstrations at many places, including Gurdwara Digana Ashram and Gurdwara Shri Kalgi Sahib, in the city.

Protestors also blocked traffic on the Jammu-Pathankote-Delhi National Highway (NH 1A) at several places, including Satwari Chowk, Rehari Chungi and Bikram Chowk, by burning rubber tyres on the road.

Similarly, there was no vehicular movement on Jammu-Rajouri-Poonch state highway and city routes.

A large number of people were seen walking on the roadsides as public transport remained off the road.

Apart from some reports of stone pelting by protestors during demonstration in the bordering Poonch city, the 'bandh' passed off peacefully, police said.

However, all the shops and educational institutions remained closed in Poonch city, police said.

Many political parties, including the BJP and Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party, had supported the 'bandh' call.

An adequate number of police personnel were deployed in the city to keep the situation under control.

A report from Baramulla district of Kashmir region said more than two hundred Sikhs, including women, staged a peaceful protest demonstration at the main Chowk of the town. They also burnt the effigy of the Dera Chief, demanding strict action against him.

Punjab also came to a standstill as normal life was thrown out of gear due to the state-wide 'bandh' called by the Akal Takht following reports that the Dera chief had donned the attire of Guru Gobind Singh at a public function at the Dera Salabatpura in Bathinda.


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