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Sikhs in J&K protest against death sentence to Rajoana

March 28, 2012 16:12 IST

Scores of Sikh protesters gathered at Lal Chowk in the city centre in summer capital Srinagar to protest against the death sentence to Balwant Singh Rajoana, the assassin of former Punjab chief minister Beant Singh.

Shouting slogans against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi, the Sikh protesters demanded deferment of the hanging of Rajoana scheduled on Saturday.

"While the culprits of the 1984 Sikh massacre are freely moving around, the hanging of Balwant Singh Rajoana is being hastened," one of the protesters said.

Police immediately swung into action charging the protesters with batons.

More than one dozen Sikh protesters were arrested.

Following a religious diktat by the Akal Takht, the highest religious seat of Sikhs in the world, Sikh protests against the hanging was also held in the state's winter capital Jammu on Wednesday.

Jammu and Kashmir has a Sikh population of 3.6 lakh, while around 70,000 of them continue to live in the Valley despite the mass exodus of the minority Kashmiri Pandit community with the beginning of the separatist violence in the state in the early 1990s.

Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar