Thousands of people, especially motorists, faced inconvenience on Thursday morning after security forces sealed a busy portion of a national highway (NH) on the Haryana-Punjab border that links Delhi with Amritsar.
A 24 km stretch of the NH-1 was sealed off on the Ambala (Haryana)-Rajpura (Punjab) section in wake of the Indian National Lok Dal’s (INLD) call of ‘Water War’.
The traffic was diverted, a Punjab police officer said.
The Punjab Police on Thursday arrested two MPs, 18 MLAs and 73 workers of INLD, Haryana’s opposition party, for violating Section 144 of the CrPC as they tried to cross over to the Punjab side to take up symbolic digging of the SYL canal.
Among those arrested included Rajya Sabha member Ramkumar Kashyap, a Lok Sabha MP, 18 MLAs and 77 workers, including women activists of the party.
The first batch of arrested INLD leaders was taken away in a private bus.
The arrested leaders will be presented in the SDM court at Rajpura, where the police are likely to seek their 14-day judicial remand.
The NH-1 is taken by thousands of motorists daily to and from Punjab to go towards Delhi via Haryana.
While the Punjab Police sealed the highway in the state, their counterparts in Haryana did the same on their side of the road to prevent any escalation.
Heavy presence of the police and central para-military forces, in riot gear and riot control vehicles, were seen on both sides of the states’ border at the Shambhu barrier, the entry point into Punjab from Haryana.
Daily commuters from both states, who travel across the border for work, were the worst affected.
“I have walked for three kilometre already to go towards Ambala. I don’t know if we will get any transport ahead,” Surjit Kaur, a woman employee who works in Ambala and travels from her village near Rajpura town in Punjab, said.
Border areas in Ambala and Patiala districts were on high alert with Haryana’s principal opposition party the INLD expected to start digging of the controversial Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal to get water for the state.