Shambhu/Rajpura, February 21
With tension escalating over the SYL canal, 10 companies of paramilitary forces and 5,000 policemen are guarding villages located on Punjab’s border with Haryana. Bunkers have been dug, walls raised and even the movement of cattle near the SYL site has been restricted. Section 144 of IPC, prohibiting the assembly of five or more persons, has been imposed and five duty magistrates have been stationed in the area. A police control room has been set up near Mughal Sarai in Rajpura that will keep in touch with the supervisory staff, which will report to seniors. Traffic from Ambala has been diverted and all roads from Rajpura to Shambhu kept out of bounds. With the INLD threatening to march to Punjab on February 23, there is heavy security at the Kapuri-Shambu border in Patiala district. The INLD leader, Abhay Chautala, has announced his party activists will gather at Ambala on February 23 and then march towards Punjab for digging the canal. Senior police officers, including Punjab DGP Suresh Arora, today inspected security preparations on the Shambhu border. “We will not allow anybody near the canal site, whether from Haryana or Punjab,” he said. Ramvir Singh, Patiala DC, said they were in touch with their counterparts in Ambala, Kaithal and Kurukshetra. Calling it political gimmickry, residents of Kapuri and nearby villages are unhappy at the “curfew-like” conditions. “All functions stand cancelled and schools closed. We have collected ration for the next three days,” they say. Punjab Congress president Capt Amarinder Singh has demanded the deployment of armed forces. “I have always held the SYL issue has the potential to trigger the revival of terrorism in Punjab. A crackdown on INLD leaders is a must, lest the situation goes out of hand,” he warned, while demanding that the parole orders of INLD chief Om Prakash Chautala be cancelled.