Punjab situation under control, says Badal

May 25th, 2009 - 8:07 pm ICT by IANS  

Chandigarh, May 25 (IANS) Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal Monday said the situation in the state, hit by violence following the death of a Sikh religious leader in a clash in Vienna, was “under control” and that normalcy will return soon.
“We all are very hurt with the developments in the state but it is a religious issue and it is very difficult to control the emotions. But at some places the protestors turned very violent and we are trying our level best to curb them,” Badal told reporters here.

He also confirmed that one person was killed and eight others injured when police opened fire on protestors in Jalandhar city.

“All this happened suddenly and chaos spread rapidly in different towns that made it difficult for us to control the situation. However, now the situation is under control and very soon things would become normal,” he added.

“I have also talked to Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna over the phone and told him to ask the Austrian government to catch the guilty at the earliest,” he said.

Violence erupted after followers of Dera Sachh Khand burnt train, blocked key highways and destroyed public and private property to protest an attack Sunday on its leaders in a gurdwara in the Austrian capital Vienna.

Sant Rama Nand, the second-in-command of the sect, died in a hospital in Vienna after being attacked by a rival Sikh group. The clash also left 16 people injured.

The condition of the sect head Sant Niranjan Dass, 68, who was the second guest speaker at the Vienna gurdwara, was stable after undergoing emergency surgery, doctors in Vienna said.

Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal said: “We have expressed our solidarity with the victims of Vienna clash by closing all our commercial establishments today (Monday).” he added

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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