Ravidasia protest paralyses Doaba

Portion of factory vandalised in Hoshiarpur, police fire into air in Mukerian

Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, August 13

Stray incidents of violence were reported at a few places in the Doaba region today during the Punjab bandh called by the Ravidasia community to protest the demolition of Guru Ravidas Temple in Delhi.

While some parts of the state witnessed a complete shutdown, the response was lukewarm elsewhere. Those travelling by train or road were the worst hit as their journey was delayed by eight to 10 hours with the protesters squatting on roads and rail tracks even as the police remained a mute spectator. 

Carrying swords, bamboo sticks and iron rods, Dalit youths moved around the streets in several parts of  the state to enforce the bandh. The NH-1 remained blocked at Phagwara from 9 am to 7 pm. 

In Hoshiarpur, protesters turned violent and vandalised the front office of Hawkins factory and smashed window panes, lamp-posts and signages around its gates. Similar scenes were witnessed in Mukerian as youths pelted shops with stones, forcing the traders to down their shutters. 

Hoshiarpur SSP Gaurav Garg said, "We are in the process of lodging FIRs in both cases. We have sought CCTV footage so that we can identify the hooligans." The police had to fire into the air in Mukerian to disperse the mob, he said.

In Patiala, Ravidasia community members blocked Punjabi University gates.  Ropar saw a lukewarm response whereas near-total bandh was observed in Ludhiana. Ferozepur saw the timings of more than 10 trains getting affected while private schools remained closed in Abohar. 

How demolition controversy unfolded

April 2, 2019: SC orders temple, built on forestland in Tughlaqabad area of New Delhi, be vacated and possession handed over peacefully to DDA

August 2: Guru Ravidas Jayanti Samaroh Samiti falsely tells SC that temple premises have been vacated

August 9: SC orders demolition of temple within a day

August 10: DDA demolishes main portion of the premises; 22 followers, including Adi Dharam Mission Khuralgarh head Sant Satwinder Singh Heera, detained for opposing the temple demolition 

Temple significance 

Guru Ravidas temple in Tughlaqabad is said to be of historical significance as the sect followers believe that the guru visited the place around 1509 AD during the reign of Sikander Lodhi and preached the Delhi Emperor and the masses. 

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