Thursday, September 25, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Bhaniarawala stabbed outside court
Police cordons off his dera
Tribune Reporters

Ambala, September 24
Baba Piara Singh Bhaniarawala was allegedly stabbed twice while he was waiting outside a court in the city this morning.

The incident took place while Baba Bhaniarawala was sitting inside a Sumo and Punjab police personnel were on guard duty. He was waiting for his case to come up in the court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate.

At about 11 am, a youth posing as a `follower’ walked up to the vehicle in which Baba was seated. The youth sought his blessings and made an offering of Rs 20.

Suddenly, the youth whipped out a knife with a long blade. Even before the Punjab police personnel could react, the youth stabbed Baba Bhaniarawala in his neck and back. Baba Bhaniarawala was taken aback by the attack.

Mr Udey Shankar, DSP, who rushed to the spot said the youth had been nabbed. During preliminary questioning, the youth Gopal Singh revealed that he was a resident of Samana in Patiala, Punjab. “We are questioning him,” he said. The exact cause of the attack by Gopal Singh is not yet known.

After Baba Bhaniarawala was attacked, he was rushed to the local Civil Hospital, where medical aid was given to him. Doctors at the hospital said Baba Bhaniarawala had received two wounds. While the wound on his back is about 4 cm deep, another wound on the neck is about 3 cm deep.

Baba Bhaniarawala’s white kurta-pajama was soaked in blood. Baba told the police personnel that he did not know the person who had attacked him. Thereafter, Baba Bhaniarawala was transferred to the PGI, Chandigarh.

Baba’s lawyers alleged that a Haryana Akali Dal leader was behind the attack. They also said the Punjab police had failed to look after the security of Baba Bhaniarawala.

A lawyer said they were going to file an application in the court seeking exemption for Baba Bhaniarawala following today’s incident.

An eye-witness said that the incident took place suddenly. “We were having tea. A youth walked up to Baba Bhaniarawala and stabbed him. Baba Bhaniarawala cried out in pain,” she said.

Earlier also during Baba’s appearance in the local court, Akali workers and Baba followers had clashed in which a person sustained injuries.

Baba Bhaniarawala had become controversial as his `granth’ had hurt religious feelings. Tensions were further increased when their were a couple of burning incidents. Cases were registered in Punjab against Baba. Baba Bhaniarawala had moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court seeking that the cases are transferred to outside Punjab.

DHAMANA (ROPAR): The police on Wednesday cordoned off the dera of Baba Piara Singh Bhaniarawala at Dhamana village about 25 km from Ropar. Baba Bhaniarawala returned to his dera here after undergoing treatment at the PGI, Chandigarh.

The police was not allowing anyone to go inside his residence without verifying their credentials. Even his followers were being checked thoroughly before being allowed inside. While talking to the correspondent at his dera Baba Bhaniarawala said certain persons of Nurpurbedi were behind the conspiracy to eliminate him. He had already informed the Ropar SSP and the Punjab Government about the threat to his life. However, the police did not take any action against the culprits.

He further alleged that a few persons also want to vitiate the atmosphere of the state by planning an attack on him and provoking his followers. He appealed his followers to maintain peace.

The police was apprehending an influx of Baba Bhaniarawala’s followers at Dhamana village as the news of attack on him spread in the state. The influx could create communal tension in the area as the local Akali organisations have been opposing the return of Bhaniarawala’s followers in the dera. In the recent past Akali organisation had pressurised the administration for stopping his birthday celebrations.

About two years ago the state witnessed communal tension as some followers of the Baba Piara Singh Bhaniarawala allegedly burned the copies of Guru Granth Sahib birs in various parts of the state. He claimed to be the reincarnation of Guru Gobind Singh and also wrote his own Bhav Sagar Samundar Granth that irked the Sikh community.

After the tension the police raided the dera of the Baba Bhaniarawala located in forests of Nurpurbedi and registered various cases against him. The government also banned his controversial granth.

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