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A day-long bandh called by various organisations in Punjab against the Amarnath attack evoked mixed response today. The strike passed off peacefully and no untoward incident was reported from any part of the state, police said. At a few places, the protesters raised slogans against Pakistan and terrorism, they said. The bandh was called by various Hindu organisations, including the Shiv Sena, Shiv Sena (Hindustan) and the Shiv Sena (Bal Thackeray), in protest against the killing of seven Amarnath pilgrims on July 10 in Anantnag district of Jammu and Kashmir. In Phagwara, the residents cutting across religions observed the bandh. They took out a rally from the Hanumangarhi Temple complex and marched through the city streets, police said.
Most of shops were closed and vehicles remained off the road. A huge police force was deployed in the city to maintain peace. As a precautionary measure, authorities diverted 'Sada- e-Sarhad' buses plying between Delhi and Lahore, Phagwara Superintendent of Police P S Bhandal said. While the bus bound for Delhi from Lahore took the Kartarpur-Subhanpur-Kapurthala-Noormahal-Phillaur route, the Lahore-bound bus took the Phillaur-Noormahal-Nakodar- Kapurthala-Kartarpur route, he said. Addressing the rally in Phagwara, Gulam Sarvar Saba, a member of the Punjab Haj Committee, called the killing of Amarnath pilgrims an "anti-Islamic act". "Islam teaches us to respect all religions and the killing of Amarnath pilgrims was an anti-Islamic and anti- mankind act," he said. Shopkeepers observed complete bandh in Hoshiarpur, Mukerian, Talwara, Hajipur, Garhdiwala and Tanda. In Ludhiana, the industrial hub of Punjab, there was a partial response to the bandh call. Except Chaura Bazar and its adjoining markets in the old city, all other markets, local transport, factories and banks functioned normally, police said. Scores of activists of various Hindu organisations took out a procession and raised slogans against Pakistan in Ludhiana, police said. Police said around 40 people, including Hindu outfit leaders Varun Mehta and Rav Inder Tondon, were detained in Ludhiana as a precautionary measure. Some Muslims also protested against terror attacks in Ludhiana, police said. Strongly condemning the attack on Amarnath pilgrims, Shahi Imam Habib-ur Rahman said that the terrorists had no religion. In Moga, all commercial establishments, banks and educational institutions remained closed, police said. A heavy police force was deployed at all government installations in Moga.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)