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Home / India News / 2007 / May 2007 / May 18, 2007
Manmohan Singh expresses concern over Punjab violence
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Manmohan Singh expresses concern over Punjab violence

Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh today expressed concern over the situation prevailing in Punjab and appealed to the people to maintain peace and calm.

New Delhi/ Amritsar, May 18 : Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh today expressed concern over the situation prevailing in Punjab and appealed to the people to maintain peace and calm.

"I have spoken to the Chief Ministers of both states (Punjab and Haryana) in the last two days. I sincerely hope nothing will be done to flare up tempers and the situation in Punjab will be brought under control," Dr. Singh told reporters on the sidelines of a function at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Over 40 companies of paramilitary forces have been deployed in the State and in neighbouring Haryana following clashes between various Sikh organizations and the followers of the Dera Sacha Sauda (DSS).

Companies of the Rapid Action Force (RAF), the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and the Border Security Force (BSF) have been deployed in sensitive areas after Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal sought 5,000 of central force personnel.

"Forty-two companies of the RAF, the CRPF and the BSF have been despatched to Punjab and ten companies to Haryana," Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil told reporters.

The Centre is keeping a close watch on the situation and advisories have been issued to Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Badal to keep the security forces on alert, he added.

Union Minister of State for Home Sri Prakash Jaiswal also called for a truce and asked the communities to peacefully resolve the row."It has been in our country's culture, whether someone is a Sikh or not, to be proud of the Sikh Gurus and the religion. All the people whose sentiments have been hurt, they will work with sensitivity and will sit and talk out all problems," Jaiswal said.

"We have sent 40 companies of security personnel to Punjab and Haryana in which 30 companies are CRPF and 10 are RAF. We hope that conditions will be alright by today evening or tomorrow morning," Jaiswal added.Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has convened an all-party meeting to discuss the present crisis. His cabinet colleagues are also likely to attend the meeting.

Badal blamed the opposition Congress Party for causing the unrest in the State.

A meeting of the Political Affairs Committee (PAC) is also expected to be held today.

According to sources, Section 144 has been imposed in eight districts of Haryana adjoining Punjab to control the situation.

Earlier in the day, Dera Sacha Sauda protestors reportedly protested at Sirsa in Haryana, and demanded President's rule in Punjab.

Scores of security personnel swarmed Dera Sacha Sauda properties in Bhatinda to prevent any untoward incidents.

The Haryana Government has already sealed its border with Punjab at Dabwali to prevent Dera supporters from crossing over into Punjab.

In Jammu, the Akali protesters blocked the Jammu-Pathankot Highway.

The situation became tense after Sikh congregations called by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbhandhak Committee (SGPC) and Akal Takht yesterday decided on a social boycott of the Dera Sacha Sauda and gave the State Government three days to arrest Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmit Ram Rahim Singh for hurting their sentiments.

The Dera Sacha Sauda had published an advertisement depicting their leader Gurmit Ram Rahim Singh in clothes similar to that worn by Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Guru of the Sikhs.

In the clashes between Sikhs and the followers of Gurmit Ram Rahim Singh, one person was killed and dozens of others, including policemen were injured.

ANI

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