CHANDIGARH, India: May 29, Reuter: The Indian government served detention orders on a former Chief Minister of the troubled northern state of Punjab and six associates on Sunday under the National Security Act, police said.

Former Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal and others six others were already in jail for defying a ban on protest marches in Punjab.

An official said detention orders were served on them at the Chandigarh jail and all seven were transferred to New Delhi.

He said the government feared they would organize protests against a Presidential decree issued on Thursday to tighten control over Sikh temples used as sanctuaries by militants fighting for an independent homeland.

The decree lays down heavy prison sentences and fines on temple employees and managers and is aimed at separating politics from religion.

Badal and his associates were arrested two weeks ago when they began a march from Chandigarh, the Punjab Capital, to the Sikh Holy City of Amritsar where the Golden Temple, the holiest shrine of the faith, had been besieged by paramilitary troops.

Militants were held up inside the temple and more than 150 of them were forced to surrender on May 18 after fierce gun battles with paramilitary troops during the 10 day siege.

Badal, an influential leader of the Sikh United Akali Dal Party was detained for a year until December 2, last year.

Surjit Singh Barnala, also a former Chief Minister, and scores of his associates are also in jail for organizing protests against the siege but officials said no detention orders had been issued against them so far.

Article extracted from this publication >> June 3, 1988