Normal life was thrown out of gear in the Fazilka tehsil on Thursday after hundreds of residents sat in a dharna to protest the delimitation of police stations. Traffic was blocked and trains were stopped in their tracks by the residents who were unhappy after 48 villages were attached to the Arniwala sub-tehsil and Abohar tehsil.
Apart from the opposition leaders, ruling party MLA Surjit Singh Jayani and SAD leaders also protested against the new policy. No train was allowed to enter or leave the Fazilka railway station. A passenger train coming from Ferozepur was stopped 18 km before this tehsil at Laduka. The protestors also stopped buses at Malaut road. All markets were also closed down. Bar association members of Fazilka lead the protest, along with the residents.
Sushil Gumber, president of the association, and Rajesh Kasricha, media advisor said, "The residents have been demanding that Fazilka be declared a separate district for the last many years, but not we are struggling to save it as a tehsil."
According to the information available, 48 villages have been shifted to Arniwala sub-tehsil and Abohar tehsil.
BJP MLA Surjit Singh Jayani said, "The villagers will have to submit their documents, after travelling 21 kilometres, to the Arniwal SHO. In case he is not available, they will have travel another 25-30 kilometres to meet the DSP in Abohar. Earlier, all the work was carried on in Fazilka tehsil."
SAD leader Mohinder Singh Khalsa said, "After independence, Fazilka was the largest tehsil in Punjab. It has gradually been reduced by shifting villages to other areas
Jayani said,"We want the area to be declared as a district and want the 48 villages back, or the protest will continue."
To pacify the protestors, Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal addressed the masses through his mobile phone, after MLA Jayani called him up. Badal assured that he will resolve the issue and a delegation has been called on April 10 in Chandigarh.
In a written representation to the state government, the residents of Fazilka have demanded a district status. The total population of the area is around 1.5 lakh.
It has been argued that a lot of time is wasted to get any work done as the district headquarters are in Ferozepur. If Fazilka is declared a district, tehsils of Abohar and Jalalabad will also benefit, said Jayani.