Violence rocks Punjab over Vienna Gurdwara shootout

May 25th, 2009 - 1:49 pm ICT by ANI  

Phagwara/Jalandhar/Patiala/Amritsar, May 25 (ANI): Several parts of Punjab are experiencing and witnessing heavy bouts of violence in protest of a shooting incident that took place on Sunday in Austrian capital Vienna inside a Sikh Gurdwara.

Thousands of agitated protestors came onto the roads on Sunday and Monday, creating a law and order probelem in Patiala, Jalandhar, Phagwara and Amritsar. Protestors also indulged in sloganering.

Some of them smashed vehicles, damaged shops, burnt buses and forced shop owners to down shutters of their outlets.

In Patiala, shopowners were asked down the shutters of their business establishments. Protesters burnt tyres on roads to block movement of traffic.

In Jalandhar, a curfew had to be imposed after various incidents of violence.

Nearly 20 kilometres of road between Jalandhar to Phagwara were blocked and damaged by protesters despite the presence of heavy security.

The Indian Army’s help has been sought to bring the situation under control in the city. At some places, mediapersons have also been attacked.

In Phagwara, a large number of protestors blocked traffic.

At least three bogies of Kanyakumari-Jammu Tavi Express were set on fire and another train near Phagwara was attacked by agitated protestors on Monday morning.

The authorities have closed down the Jalandhar-Phagwara road to prevent an escalation of violence.

In Amritsar, protests were taking place in several parts. The Delhi-Ambala Highway was blocked.

According to railway authorities, rail services have been disrupted or suspended due to violence in Jalandhar, Phagwara and other parts of the State.

“Today, a Kanyakumari-Jammu Tawi Express train was attacked by protestors in which one AC and two general bogies of the train were torched. No one has been injured in the incident. Rail services have been disrupted due to ongoing violence,” said Rajesh Khare, the Northern Railways PRO.

On Sunday evening, Jalandhar witnessed protests over the shooting incident in Vienna in which at least 11 people were reportedly injured in the afternoon.

Tension gripped Jalandhar as soon as news about the shooting on Sant Niranjan Dass, the head of Dera Sachkhand Ballan, reached the city.

Agitated followers turned violent and torched several vehicles.

Local authorities and witnesses initially said the assailants were from two feuding families, but later they said, it involved members of several rival Sikh temple in Vienna who had been at odds for several years.

According the Vienna police, it all started when six people burst into the temple in Vienna’s Rudolfsheim district during a religious service and attacked the preacher and other worshippers. One of the assailants was firing a gun and others wielding knives. In the ensuing violence, at least 11 people suffered gunshot and stab wounds before the assailants were subdued.

Meanwhile, the State government while expressing concern over the Vienna incident, has blamed miscreants behind the ongoing violence in Punjab.

“The Vienna incident is quite an upsetting incident. I don’t have words to express how tragic it felt to me. But various miscreants are behind the violence, which has been erupted here. These people do not want peace to prevail in the State,” said Punjab Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal to a TV channel. (ANI)

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