Tribune News Service
Jalandhar, August 13
Sporadic incidents of violence marked Tuesday’s Punjab shutdown that Dalit groups had called to protest the recent demolition of a Ravidas temple in the national capital.
In Mukerian, four youths were wounded in a clash between shopkeepers and protestors who were forcing them to keep their shops closed. Stone pelting from both sides forced police to resort to firing to break them up.
In another incident protesters damaged a car near Bidhipur railway crossing near Kartarpur here.
Reports suggested that the bandh got a good response from Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur, Kapurthala and Phagwara, where commercial establishments remained shut.
Protesters, including workers from the Bahujan Samaj Party, the Sant Samaj and the Bhim Army, sat on dharna on state highways, including those leading to Amritsar, Hoshiarpur, Ludhiana, Nakodar and Pathankot, blocking these roads.
In Jalandhar, all commercial establishments, including banks and petrol pumps, remained closed. Groups of young people patrolled market areas to enforce the bandh in Jalandhar as well as Hoshiarpur.
Those travelling by trains were also affected—protesters stopped several trains at several places, such as near Phagwara and Jalandhar. Shatabdi trains to Jalandhar and Amritsar were halted by protesters sitting on railway tracks near Ludhiana.
Schools and colleges remained closed in Doaba, Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur and Kapurthala.
In Nawanshahr, the bandh did not make much impact: most markets were kept open after it remained closed on Monday. Members of Hindu organisations held protests on Tuesday against former MLA Shingara Ram Sahungara, who has been accused of insulting Hindu deities. Sahungara, who had been previously been in the BSP, is now with the Congress.
Protesters vandalised a factory belonging to the cookware company Hawkins Cookers in Hoshiarpur.
Several politicians participated in the protest, among them Congress MLAs Sushil Rinku, Pargat Singh and former BJP minister Manoranjan Kalia.