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Posted at: Jan 1, 2017, 6:37 PM; last updated: Jan 1, 2017, 6:37 PM (IST)

Preacher Baljit Singh Daduwal arrested

Preacher Baljit Singh Daduwal arrested
Baljit Singh Daduwal. — File photo

Ravi Dhaliwal

Tribune News Service

Batala, January 1

Sikh religious preacher Baljit Singh Daduwal was arrested by the Batala police from Qadian after, what police officers claim, he delivered a provoking speech against the state government at a public function held at Thikriwal village, 5 km from Qadian, on Sunday.

Daduwal was ‘appointed’ Jathedar of Takht Damdama Sahib at a Sarbat Khalsa held at Chaba village, Taran Tarn, on November 10, 2015.

Mystery shrouds the manner of his arrest as the cops and eyewitnesses are coming out with conflicting versions. The police say he was arrested after he could not satisfactorily reply to some questions put to him by the Qadian SHO at a check-post.

However, eyewitnesses say that Daduwal was picked up from his Qadian residence. Daduwal’s aide Jagmeet Singh, too, was arrested and sent to jail.

Sources say the police allegedly bypassed the mandatory medical examination and sent the preacher directly to Gurdaspur jail amid high security. This rule was allegedly done away with as the cops whisked him away to the prison after registering a case at the Qadian police station under Section 107/51 IPC (when a person is likely to commit a breach of the peace or disturb public tranquillity).

However, Batala SSP Manmohan Sharma said that the medical examination had been performed.

An officer, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Daduwal had been taken into preventive custody as he was to go to Patna to attend the ongoing 350th birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Gobind Singh. “Apprehending that he may cause disturbances in Patna, senior officers decided to arrest him in Punjab itself,” he added.

At the Thikriwal congregation, Daduwal is said to have lashed out at cabinet minister Sikandar Singh Maluka for indulging in a blasphemous act recently. He also spoke against Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal saying that “he was responsible for giving shelter to people like Maluka who were doing injustice to Sikh community”.

Before he was taken away to jail, Daduwal managed to record an audio clip in which he said, “The Badal government was giving a new year’s gift to the Sikhs by arresting people like him.”

Sources say Daduwal, two days ago, held a meeting at the Akal Takht with Dhyan Singh Mand and Jathedar Amrik Singh, where it was decided to ask “Maluka to be present at the Akal Takht on January 9 to clarify his position”.

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