Punjab's Doaba shuts down over demolition of shrine

Hindustan Times

Shops, businesses and school shut down in Punjab's Doaba region and road traffic blocked on Tuesday in response to a call given by the Ravidassia community against the demolition of a temple dedicated to the sect's founder, Ravidas, in New Delhi's Tughlakabad.

In Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur, Kapurthala and SBS Nagar, shops, banks, and commercial establishments remained shut while educational institutions were ordered to be closed by authorities as a precautionary measure.

Protesters blocked road traffic at various places, including on the Jalandhar-Delhi national highway. Protest marches were taken out at several places as people held protests, burnt effigies and placed burning tyres on roads.

In Jalandhar and Hoshiarpur, protesters carrying swords went around in markets in cars and bikes.

The protestors held the central government responsible for the demolition and threatened to intensify their protest if the temple was not restored.

Delhi Social Welfare Minister Rajendra Pal Gautam had on Monday alleged that the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) demolished the temple in the presence of a police force last Saturday and the statue was 'taken away'. The DDA, however, did not use the word temple and said the 'structure was removed as per the orders of the Supreme Court'.

In Jalandhar, protesters supported by Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) workers braved heavy rain and held demonstrations. Local Congress MP Santokh Singh Chaudhary and party MLAs also joined the protests.

A number of Akali Dal MLAs backed the demonstrations.

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