Punjab remained choked for the fifth day on Monday with roads being blocked by Sikh activists in various parts of the state.
The activists are protesting the recent desecration of the holy book Guru Granth Sahib and police firing on protesters in village Behbal Kalan in district Faridkot last week in which two Sikhs were killed and around 90 were injured.
The protesters are demanding the arrest of the accused and action against the senior police officials who ordered the firing.
Parkash Singh Badal-led Punjab government is already facing flak from all opposition parties for firing on unarmed protesters and even the Shiromani Akali-controlled SGPC has demanded action against the cops.
National Highway 1 remained blocked for a few hours on Monday at Chaheru between Phagwara and Jalandhar, at PAP Chowk in Jalandhar and in Beas town. Due to the blockade at Beas town, the two main connections between Majha and Doaba regions were snapped as another bridge on river Beas near Goindwal Sahib, which connects Kapurthala and Taran Taran districts, was blocked. Gidarpindi bridge on river Satluj was blocked by trees that had been cut. This bridge connects Jalandhar and Moga districts and connects parts of Malwa and Doaba regions.
Not only the highways, even the link roads in the villages were blocked at several places. Roads approaching the historic town Sultanpur Lodhi were blocked. Protesters started langar (community kitchen) near Gidarpindi bridge and at village Talwandi Chaudhraian.
A wary Punjab government has told Punjab Police officials to simply remain present at the blockade sites and refrain from any provocative action. Police officials are helping divert traffic to alternate routes.
Sikh religious leadership, including Akal Takht Jathedar and other high priests and SGPC, have failed to appease the protesters. SGPC members have faced assaults at a few places in the state and are being accused of working according to the political interests of the Badals.
The Sikh clergy and SGPC’s decision to pardon the Sirsa Dera chief and then revoking the pardon has also upset protesters.