Thursday, October 25, 2001, Chandigarh, India





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Scuffle precedes Badal’s visit
Panthic Morcha tries to take over dais

Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Sakrala (Hoshiarpur), October 24
Panthic Morcha workers were involved in a verbal duel and scuffle with supporters of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and two Punjab ministers in this village today.

Agitated over the incident of sacrilege in the village yesterday, Panthic Morcha workers led by Baba Sarabjot Singh Bedi reportedly usurped the state set-up by the village panchayat and Akali leaders for Mr Badal, who was scheduled to visit the village around 11.30 a.m.

Baba Bedi blamed the government for incidents of sacrilege and alleged that the laxity shown by the government towards such a serious issue had encouraged unscrupulous elements in the state.

This in turn provoked SAD workers and leaders, including Mr Balbir Singh Miani and Ms Mohinder Kaur Josh, both Punjab ministers, who were allegedly involved in a scuffle with Baba Bedi and his supporters like Jasjit Singh Khiala and Harjit Singh Dhami.

During the scuffle, the “bir” of Guru Granth Sahib which had been brought to the venue was shifted back to the village gurdwara by villagers. Later, Mr Sanjiv Kalra, SSP, and other administration officials persuaded Panthic Morcha workers and leaders to leave the place.

The reports of trouble in the village reportedly delayed the arrival of Mr Badal, who reached the village around 1 p.m.

Addressing the villagers, Mr Badal condemned the act of sacrilege and assured that his government would take action against the culprits. He said nobody should take political mileage out of the situation. “All of us should try to find the real culprits,” he said. Mr Badal denied that he had any secret meeting with Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra and that he knew about a meeting between Mr Tohra and SGPC chief Jagdev Singh Talwandi.
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