Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh issued an order on Saturday immediately banning the telecast of the serial Ram Siya Ke Luv Kush, after protests by members of the Valmiki community resulted in a day-long strike in parts of the state, PTI reported. A man was shot at during a protest in Jalandhar.

A group called the Valmiki Action Committee alleged that the serial contains derogatory remarks, distorts historical facts and offends sentiments. It also called for a nationwide ban on the serial and the arrest of its director and cast under the Indian Penal Code for allegedly hurting religious sentiments.

Banning the serial, Singh also cautioned against any attempt to disturb peace and communal harmony in the state. Following his orders, deputy commissioners issued notifications in their respective districts to cable operators banning the telecast of the serial, an official press release said.

Commercial establishments remained closed in Jalandhar, Amritsar, Hoshiarpur, Kapurthala, Phagwara and Ferozepur cities. In Ludhiana, the bandh was partially effective. Only medicine shops, clinics and ambulance services were allowed to operate.

Gurpreet Singh, a man from Jalandhar, was shot at by an unidentified person during a protest in which the demonstrators threw bricks at one another. He was later operated upon at a local hospital.

During a clash in Fazilka town, goods were flung out of a grocery shop. The protestors also blocked the National Highway-1 between Jalandhar and Amritsar. This hit bus services between Amritsar and Chandigarh.

In Amritsar, all markets and some schools remained closed. Youths rode motorbikes brandishing swords, bats and sticks.

Valmiki Action Committee Chairperson Kishan Lal Hero and President Dharamvir Sethi assembled with demonstrators at Valmiki temple on Banga road in Phagwara and marched through the city, until they reached statue of BR Ambedkar in Hargobind Nagar area. They were joined by Dalit and Muslim groups.

The protestors warned that demonstrations will be stepped up if the serial is not banned nationwide, and the director and crew arrested. They also demanded that a representative of the community be appointed to the Central Board of Film Certification.

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