The Punjab bandh call given by some radical Sikh organisations on Monday to protest Saturday's violence at Ludhiana, in which one person was killed, evoked a mixed response. Rail and road traffic movement remained normal across the state, even as authorities relaxed curfew in several areas in the violence-hit industrial town.
The Ludhiana district administration decided to relax the curfew from 5 pm to 8 pm in the jurisdictions of three police stations of Model Town, Sarabha Nagar and Division No 5, Ludhiana Deputy Commissioner Vikas Garg said.
He added that to prevent any fresh outbreak of violence, the administration had imposed curfew under 18 police stations of the industrial town as a precautionary measure. Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, who also holds the Home portfolio, will make a statement in the state assembly in Chandigarh on Tuesday on last week's violence at Ludhiana.
Shops, commercial establishments and educational institutions remained closed in many parts of the state, officials said, adding that some areas, including Bathinda and Mandi Gobindgarh, remained unaffected by the bandh .
The bandh remained peaceful, as no untoward incident was reported from any part of the state, officials said, adding that rail and road traffic was plying normally.
However, Ludhiana wore a deserted look today in response to the bandh, as the town's entry points were sealed by the police.
Reports of complete shut down of shops, schools and other commercial institutions was received from Amritsar, Fatehgarh Sahib, Ferozepur, Hoshiarpur, Phagwara, Patiala and Jalandhar. At Jalandhar, Patiala, Faridkot, Bathinda and Batala, members owing allegiance to various Sikh organisations, including the Sikh Students Federation, forced several shop owners to pull down the shutters, according to reports.
In Jalandhar, at Milap Chowk, a minor scuffle broke out between police personnel and Sikh protestors, who were forcing shops to down their shutters, but no one was injured in the incident.
Meanwhile, reiterating the state government's resolve to ensure law and order, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today said that the situation was under total control.
"The government is keeping a close tab on the situation and monitoring it closely," Badal told reporters outside the state assembly before commencement of the brief winter session in Chandigarh.
Describing the death of the Sikh protestor in Ludhiana as 'unfortunate', he asserted that the situation was now under total control.