Punjab govt bans SAD’s Pol Khol rally, citing inputs about violence

Ruchika M Khanna

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 14

The Punjab government has banned the Pol Khol rally of the Shiromani Akali Dal at Faridkot on Sunday, citing intelligence inputs that the rally could become a flashpoint between the radicals staging a dharna there and the Akali workers.

Sources in the Akali Dal told The Tribune that initially a no objection certificate was issued by the police. However, they alleged that the NOC was later recalled by the district administration.

Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal and party patriarch Parkash Singh Badal were to address the rally, mainly to take the issue of the Justice Ranjit Singh Commission report to the people.

It was meant to launch an offensive against the Congress government, which through the report, has blamed Parkash Singh Badal of ordering the use of force on those protesting against the incidents of sacrilege at Kotkapura in October 2015.

SAD leader Parambans Singh Romana told The Tribune that around 150 cops swooped down on the rally venue and told them that the rally could not be held. “However, till we get the order in writing, we are continuing with our preparations,” he said.

Top officials in the Punjab government told The Tribune that the Sikh radicals are staging a dharna at Bargari village near Faridkot, and their number has started to grow over the past few days, raising suspicion of trouble at the rally venue on September 16.

“These leaders had also protested outside a pre-rally meeting of the Akali Dal last week, and a clash between the two sides had taken place. The radical Sikhs also protested outside the rally venue of the Akali Dal at Abohar. Faridkot is a sensitive area as the first few sacrilege incidents took place there and in the vicinity. Thus it was decided to ban the rally,” a top state government official said.

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