Punjab chief minister calls all party meet over violence

May 25th, 2009 - 5:55 pm ICT by IANS  

Chandigarh, May 25 (IANS) Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal Monday decided to hold an all party meeting here Tuesday to discuss the violence in the state following the death of a Sikh religious leader in a clash in Vienna and also called for the closure of all commercial establishments in the state.
Government spokesperson Harcharan Bains told reporters here that all business establishments will be closed Monday to express solidarity with the victims of Sunday’s clash between two Sikh groups in the Austrian capital.

Sant Rama Nand, the second-in-command of the Dera Sachh Khand sect, died in a hospital after sustaining injuries in the clash. The fighting also left at least 16 people injured and triggered violence in Punjab.

“The condition in Jalandhar deteriorated Sunday evening and we had to impose a curfew there. Taking precautionary measures, we also called army officials and told them to hold a flag march in the town and in some other sensitive areas of the state,” said Bains.

He added that measures to curb the violence will be discussed at the all party meet Tuesday.

The government spokesperson said there were peaceful protests in various towns like Fridkot, Ludhiana, Kapurthala, Amritsar, Bathinda, Patiala and Hoshiarpur.

“Peaceful protests are the right of people and we have no problem with it but if anyone goes against the law of land then we would not spare him. Till now we have no official confirmation of any arrests or any casualties,” he said.

“There would be no use of unnecessary force over the protestors as we understand that this is a very sensitive issue and we have to deal with it carefully without hurting the religious sentiments of any group,” he added.

“The deputy chief minister (Sukhbir Singh Badal) is in constant touch with officials of the external affairs ministry for the latest information but till now we have not got any concrete and reliable news about the incident. We have no details about the attackers or the injured as we have got only rough information through the media,” said Bains.

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