Himachal stops plying its buses in violence-hit Punjab

May 25th, 2009 - 9:40 pm ICT by IANS  

Shimla, May 25 (IANS) Himachal Pradesh Monday stopped operations of its state transport bus service in neighbouring Punjab after two buses were set afire there during violence that flared up following the death of a Sikh religious leader in a clash in Austrian capital Vienna.
“We have temporarily stopped the plying of bus service of Himachal Road Transport Corporation (HRTC) in Punjab after two buses were set on fire in violence in Jalandhar city Sunday night,” Himachal Transport Minister Kishan Kapoor told reporters here.

The ministers said many passengers had a narrow escape as agitated mob set two buses afire.

“The bus services would be restored only after the normalcy returns,” he added.

Several parts of Punjab saw violence Monday as followers of the Dera Sachh Khand, opposing the attack on their leaders, brought the state to a standstill. Train bogies were torched at the Jalandhar Cantonment station, a key highway blocked and vehicles and shops set afire.

Sect leader Sant Rama Nand, 57, the sect’s second-in-command, died in a hospital in Vienna, following an armed attack involving rival Sikh groups at a gurdwara the previous day. The attack also left at least 16 people injured.

The Dera Sachh Khand sect has considerable following among dalit Sikhs across Punjab, especially in the Doaba belt (between rivers Sutlej and Beas).

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