Punjab govt committed to restoring peace: Media adviser

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Chandigarh, May 22 (UNI) Even as the Punjab bandh called by the Akal Takht passed off peacefully in the border state, the state government reaffirmed its commitment to ''unwinding the tangle'' (Sacha Sauda issue) through peaceful processes and restoring peace.

''The stand of the government is that the law of the country will prevail and peace will be maintained,'' Chief Minister's Media Adviser Harcharan Bains told mediapersons here this evening.

The bandh was called by the highest temporal seat of Sikhs to protest the alleged ''anti-Sikh'' activites of the Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Raheem Singh.

Answering questions on the May 27 deadline set by the Akal Takht to shut down all Sacha Sauda centers in the state, Mr Bains maintained that there was time for the government to ''unwind the tangle''.

''There is time for us to try out all kinds of processes to restore peace,'' he said when asked whether Sacha Sauda 'deras' could be vacated.

''There is no deadline for peace, whether May 27 of thereafter,'' he added while maintaining that he could not be speculative.

Replying to another query, Mr Bains maintained that the dominant feeling in Punjab was that an apology by the Sacha Sauda chief was the only way out of the imbroglio.

The Media Adviser asserted that the government was ''not going to lower its vigil'', even though the bandh was peaceful in the state.

Referring to today's bandh, Mr Bains said it was spontaneous and peaceful and there was no incident of violence. There were places where demonstrations were held but at no place did the police have to use force to restore order, he added.

On behalf of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, he thanked the people of Punjab and all religious and social organisations and political parties for their role during the bandh. The situation was handled in a highly professional manner by the administration, particularly the police, he added.

''The situation was handled tactfully, firmly and with restrain,'' he claimed. Some attempts were made to ''cross the line of law'' but the administration ultimately prevailed, he added.


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