Violence between Hindus and Sikhs in Punjab and neighbouring Haryana State left India's busiest highway (the Sher Shah Harg National Highway Number One) deserted on February 22.
GV Deserted stretch of the Sher Shah Suri Marg National Highway with a "Haryana Welcomes You" board and a deserted checkpost in the background (2 shots)
GV Deserted highway
GV & SV Loaded trucks and rivers standing on grassy verge (2 shots)
GV Soni Pat city with police picket guarding busy street (2 shots)
GV Deserted petrol station
GV Deserted stretch of highway with sign designating the Sher Shah Suri Marg National Highway Number 1
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Violence between Hindus and Sikhs in Punjab and neighbouring Haryana State left India's busiest highway (the Sher Shah Harg National Highway Number One) deserted on February 22. A majority of India's transport drivers are Sikhs. After reports of Hindu attacks on Sikhs in Haryana State, many truckers decided to abandon their loads and wait it out at the damaged during clashes between Sikh and Hindu militants in the two states. In Soni Pat, in Haryana, violence flared over the weekend of February 18 and 19. Extra security forces were sent in and riot police took up positions around the Sikh temple to protect it from possible Hindu attacks. The president of the Sikhs' main political party, the Akali Dal, appointed a five-member committee to investigate recent killings. But Harchand Singh Longowal said police detained the committee as it tried to cross from Punjab into Haryana. On February 23 president Zail Singh called for a national programme to unite the country in the face of growing communal violence, and Prime Minister Indira Gandhi told members of her ruling Congress Party that extremists were gaining the upper hand in Punjab.