A shutdown was observed in various districts Punjab state on Thursday as Sikh organizations intensified protests against the alleged desecration of their holy book.
On Monday, more than 100 pages were reportedly found scattered on a street that led to a local Sikh temple, which Sikh leaders claimed to be torn from a copy of the Holy Scripture, Guru Granth Sahib, allegedly stolen in June this year.
Violence broke out in Punjab's Kotkapura city on October 14 after Sikh protesters and police clashed, where reports of stone pelting by protestors and counter baton charge and open firing by the police came to fore.
A complete shutdown was observed in the districts of Kotkapura, Bathinda, Faridkot, Barnala and Ferozepur on Thursday, said media.
In Amritsar city, shops remained closed amid heavy deployment of police.
"We are making every possible effort to ensure people are not being inconvenienced. Also, we are looking to it that shopkeepers who want to open their shops are not harassed or forced to shut their shops," said Harwinder Singh, Amritsar's Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police (City-1).
In Bhatinda, children were unable to reach their schools, as protestors also blocked highways and roads.
In Ludhiana district, several sword-wielding Sikh protestors could be seen sitting on the roads and chanting hymns.
"We want the government to punish those who insulted Guru Granth Sahib (Sikh's Holy Scripture). We are not rioting, we are peacefully requesting the government to punish the guilty," said a protestor, Daler Singh.
Media reported that over a dozen policemen, including Bhatinda inspector-general of police, were injured and two protestors were killed in Wednesday's clashes. (ANI)