Kapurthala, Punjab: Chased by angry Sikh protesters, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leaders had to flee State Gurdwara barefoot.
Bholath legislator Bibi Jagir Kaur; former minister Upinderjit Kaur; SAD district president Jarnail Singh Wahid; SGPC members Gurpreet Kaur and Sarwan Singh Kullar; and district planning committee chairman Sarabjit Singh Makkar slipped out of the backdoor but many other leaders did not get time to even put their shoes back on. The windowpanes of the cars of Kullar and SAD district general secretary Harvinder Kaur were smashed.
Amid high security at the gurdwara, more than 100 SAD workers and leaders had gathered there in the morning to attend the ‘bhog’ of ‘akhand paath’ organised to pray for peace and harmony in the state after the desecration of Guru Granth Sahib at several places recently. Police were deployed outside since Thursday when Sikh protesters had not let Akali leaders in to start the prayers.
As 100-odd armed men protesting 200 meters from the gurdwara stormed in raising proKhalistan slogans and searching for Akali leaders, more than 500 cops failed to hold them back. Denied five minutes to speak with the Akali leaders, these protesters led by Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) district president Narinder Singh Khusropur had first threatened to run through the police cordon. They seized their opportunity when the ceremony was about over and the participants had started to leave.
Most Akali leaders were saved by a few seconds. The presence of senior cops made little difference. The Akali leaders looked embarrassed and were unhappy to flee like robbers. After the ruckus, police arrested 14 people.