Violence sparked by the killing of a Dera leader spread to more parts of Punjab and Haryana today as protestors resorted to large-scale arson, prompting authorities to call out the army in Jalandhar city and neighbouring areas and imposing indefinite curfew there.
One person was killed and four others injured as army personnel opened fire in Lambra village, about 30 kms from Jalandhar, police said. Earlier, protestors had attacked the convoy of IG (zonal) Sanjeev Kalra and set afire the vehicle of SP (city-II) Sarabjeet Singh in the village, police said.
Security men guarding Kalra opened 20 rounds of fire when the convoy was attacked, they said. Violence spread to several parts of Punjab and Ambala in Haryana with arsonists setting fire to four bogies of Jammu Tawi-Kanyakumari Express at Jalandhar cantonment station, besides damaging bogies of a train in Phagwara.
Some buses were also damaged in Patiala by the attackers who also blocked the National Highway No 1 in Ambala as tension spread in the wake of the attack on the head of a Dera sect in a gurudwara in Vienna yesterday.
A mob attacked Maqsudan police station in Jalandhar district and burnt several vehicles parked in the premises after which policemen used batons to disperse the agitators.
"Curfew in the entire Jalandhar district has been extended for an indefinite period and five columns of army (containing 75 personnel each) have been deployed to control the violence", A S Pannu, Deputy Commissioner told PTI.
Army staged a flag march in disturbed areas of Jalandhar district. All commercial establishments and educational institutions were closed in the wake of curfew.Protestors set afire four bogies of Jammu Tawi-Kanyakumari express at Jalandhar cantonment station after asking the passengers to disembark, police said.
In Phillaur, policemen were attacked by a mob and a Sub Divisional Magistrate and Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) were gheraoed by the protesters.
A complete bandh was observed at Nurmahal where a by-poll is slated for May 28, sources said adding that the Talwan-Nurmahal road was blocked by the protesters. The protesters also blocked rail traffic at local Ram Nagar railway crossing. The railway authorities, as a precautionary measure, stopped the trains at several points to avoid any untoward incident.
A report from Phagwara said that the protesters damaged an engine and some bogies of a train. Window panes of some buses were damaged by the protesters at Patiala. The National Highway number one was blocked by protesters at Ambala, reports said.
In Ambala, a bus was partly burnt and window panes of three buses were smashed. The protesters also blocked the Ambala-Jagadhari road.Protesters defied curfew in several places, including Butan Mandi, Nakodar Chowk and workshop chowk, police said adding that a police post was also burnt by the agitators.
Reports from Phagwara and Banga said traffic on the Jalandhar-Chandigarh and Jalandhar-Ludhiana roads were also blocked by the protesters.The protesters last night burnt several vehicles and attacked two trains in Jalandhar cantonment railway station in which 11 persons received minor injuries, police said here.
Tension flared up in Jalandhar and other areas late last evening after reports of attack on Sant Niranjan Dass, head of Dera Sachkhand Ballan, and his second in command Sant Ramanand at Vienna came in.
The Dera has a large following in Adharmi community, particularly in Doaba region of the state.