Three protest marches banned, crackdown against Panthic bodies

The detentions were made from various districts, including Bathinda, Gurdaspur, Ludhiana and Amritsar.

Chandigarh: In a major crackdown against
radical Sikhs and their organisations, Punjab police tonight
detained several leaders and activists and banned three
protest marches to be held tomorrow in support of Balwant Singh Rajoana, convict in the Beant Singh assassination case.

Punjab Police sources said tonight that those
taken into custody include SAD (A) president Simranjit Singh
Mann, SAD Panthic secretary general Harpal Singh Cheema,
president SAD (Independent) Parmjit Saholi and president Youth
Akali Dal (Delhi) Gurdip Gosha.

Among the others are former secretary general of
SAD (A) Gurinder Pal Dhanola, chairman of Panthic Seva Lehar
Baljit Singh Daduwal, president SAD (Panthic) Daljit Singh
Bittu, president SAD (Delhi) Jaswinder Singh Balia and State
General Secretary of SAD (A) Guru Savar Singh.

The total number of persons apprehended so far as a
preventive measure was not yet known, the sources said adding
that the detention of the leaders and activists of these
organisations have been made under Sections 107/151
(apprehension of breach of peace).

The detentions were made from various districts, including
Bathinda, Gurdaspur, Ludhiana and Amritsar.

The sources said that the state has also banned three
protest marches which the radical Sikhs and various Panthic
organisations were scheduled to take out from three different
Takhts located at Anandpur Sahab (Takht Keshgarh Sahab), Takht
Damdama Sahab (Talwandi Sabo, Muktsar) and Amritsar (Akal
Takht) tomorrow.

The protest marches were to culminate outside the Central
Jail at Patiala where Rajoana is lodged.

The preventive detentions in the state were continuing
till late in the night, the sources said adding that police
personnel in the state have been directed to keep a strict
vigil on the supporters of the Panthic bodies to ensure that
peace prevails in the state.

Normal life was disrupted in Punjab today due to the
protest bandh called by various Sikh organisations to express
solidarity with Rajoana whose hanging slated for March 31 was
today stayed by the Centre in view of a mercy petition to
President Pratibha Patil by SGPC.

Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had also met the
President in New Delhi this evening seeking clemency for

The special CBI court had awarded death sentence to
Rajoana and Jagtar Singh Hawara in the Beant Singh case on
August 1, 2007.Three others -- Lakhwinder Singh, Gurmeet Singh
and Shamsher Singh -- were sentenced to life imprisonment for
hatching the conspiracy to kill Beant Singh.

The Chandigarh court had issued the death warrant to the
Patiala jail authorities earlier this month, asking them to
hang Rajoana on March 31.

Rajoana did not appeal against the judgment. The death
penalty of Hawara, who filed an appeal against it, was
commuted to life term.

On August 31, 1995 as Beant Singh stepped out of his
office at the high-security Punjab civil secretariat in
Chandigarh, a suicide bomber blew himself up, killing the then
chief minister and 17 others. Rajoana was the second human
bomb to be used in case Dilawar had failed in his mission.


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