M A I N   N E W S

SGPC, dera men clash: 12 injured
Magisterial probe to focus on police role
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 14
As many as 12 persons were injured, two of them seriously, when activists of the SGPC and various Sikh religious bodies clashed with activists of Dera Sacha Sauda near the deputy commissionerís office before noon here today.

Rahul Bhandari, district magistrate, who along with SSP Naresh Arora reached the spot after getting the information and tried to bring the situation under control, said he had ordered a magisterial probe into the incident. He added that ADC (general) M.P. Arora had been asked to conduct the probe within four days with focus on the police role in todayís incident.

He added that as per his information the Punjab government had also ordered a probe into todayís incident. The state government had asked inspector-general (IG), Punjab Police, Patiala zone, to conduct the probe.

The sword and lathi-wielding activists of various Sikh organisations and Dera Sacha Sauda clashed on the Bathinda-Mansa main road when about 200 members of various Sikh religious organisations led by two members of the SGPC tried to burn the effigy of Baba Gurmit Ram Rahim, head, Dera Sacha Sauda, to lodge their protest against the action of the Baba. He had allegedly tried to copy the ceremonies once performed by Guru Gobind Singh at Salabatpura village of this district in the recent past.

The dera activists, who were already present in large number near the deputy commissionerís office gave tough resistance to the activists of various Sikh organisations and succeeded in snatching the effigy of the baba from them. In the clash 12 persons, including a sewadar of the SGPC and five activists of the dera, were injured.

The policemen present at the spot responded very late and resorted to a lathi charge. Following this the activists of the dera blocked traffic on the Bathinda-Mansa main road, demanding registration of criminal cases and subsequent arrest of those members of the Sikh organisations who were involved in the attack and who had tried to burn the effigy of the baba.

Ram Singh, a senior functionary of Dera Sacha Sauda, while talking to media persons alleged that various Sikh organisations on the instigation of members of the SAD had decided yesterday to burn the effigy. On the other hand, the members of various Sikh organisations alleged that they were attacked with swords and lathis by the activists of the dera when they tried to hold a peaceful protest.

Bhandari pointed out that on getting information he had sent the SDM and SP(D) to the spot.

Meanwhile, Civil Hospital sources said only 10 had got injured, one of them seriously.

Jathedars to meet at Akal Takht today

Balwant Singh Nandgarh, jathedar, Takht Damdama Sahib, while predicting that the situation could turn ugly said a meeting of the Sikh clergy would be held at Akal Takht tomorrow to take a decision in this connection. He said a strong decision was expected to be taken by the Sikh clergy.



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