BATHINDA: Anticipating violence after sentencing of Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, curfew was imposed in Bathinda, Fazilka, Muktsar, Moga and 11 villages around Malout town of Muktsar on Monday afternoon.
While the atmosphere post the pronouncement of the 20-year sentence has remained peaceful in Malwa, the curfew is likely to remain in place at least until Tuesday morning. Elaborate security arrangements have been made to deal with any disruption.
The government and private offices emptied within minutes of the announcement of the imposition of curfew in Bathinda. Market places were deserted and business activity came to standstill.
"Today being Monday, we were expecting brisk business following a few days of disruption. However, with imposition of curfew, everything has come to a halt. We are praying that complete normalcy returns at the earliest so that people can live without any fear and the businesses can resume," said a Bathinda cloth merchant Jiwan Kumar.
"We have suffered a huge loss in the last four days due to violence following the dera head's conviction in the rape case. The business activity was already low due to the Goods and Services Tax (GST). Now this dera episode has added to our woes," said Mukesh Kumar who runs a general store in Bathinda.
Satinder Singh, a passenger waiting at the Bathinda bus stand for a bus to Ludhiana, said there were hardly any buses plying during the morning hours on Monday but the curfew had brought everything to a standstill in the afternoon.
Bathinda zone IG M S Chhina said no incident had been reported from the region and police were fully prepared to deal with any situation.