Chandigarh: The day-long bandh called by various Sikh organizations to protest the scheduled execution of Balwant Singh Rajoana, convicted in the Beant Singh killing case, disrupted normal life in parts of Punjab on Wednesday.
According to reports, the call for bandh evoked a total response in Patiala city where Rajoana is lodged in the local Central Jail awaiting his execution on March 31 as per the orders of the Chandigarh Sessions Court.
The situation in the industrial town of Ludhiana was peaceful. Restaurants and eating houses were open while commercial establishments in some markets were partially open.
In Phagwara, the bandh was complete in the city located on the Delhi Jalandhar National Highway. Road traffic was plying normally though the number of passengers using public
transport was few.
Section of Sikhs took to streets in some areas carrying flags as security personnel patrolled sensitive areas to maintain peace.
Hardliners Dal Khalsa, Khalsa Action Committee and Khalra Mission organisation have urged the Sikh community to voluntary shut down their business establishments and observe
the day-long bandh peacefully.
Nearly 60,000 Punjab police personnel and 15 companies of para-military forces have been deployed to avoid any untoward incident ahead of Rajoana’s execution.
The state government has clamped prohibitory orders under Section 144 banning assembly of five or more persons were at various places in view of the bandh.
Besides, the security around the Patiala Central Jail, where Rajoana is lodged, has also been beefed up and additional security check points have been erected to restrict the entry of those going towards the prison side.
Security forces have been conducting flag marches at key locations in the state to instill sense of confidence among the people. Special control rooms have been set up in the districts
to keep an eye on the movement of protestors.
On the directions of top temporal seat of Sikhs, Akal Takht, prayers are being held at different places in the state in support of Rajoana.
Trade and industry leaders had yesterday asked the Punjab Government to ensure peace and tranquility in the state in the wake of the bandh call.