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SGPC, Dera face-off
More violence on Day II
Bathinda Circuit House, vehicles damaged
Chander Parkash/Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 15
As many as 20 persons, including seven policemen, four women, one press reporter, were injured when the followers of Dera Sacha Sauda clashed with policemen, camping in and around the local Circuit House, without any provocation here today.

Of the 20 injured, 17 were admitted to the local Civil Hospital while three others, including a press photographer, were getting treatment at a private hospital. The injured included two sub-inspectors.

Followers of the dera damaged government and private vehicles, including an ambulance, fire tender, jeep of police official, apart from setting on fire one car belonging to a police functionary today.

Though the policemen adopted a defensive posture, the followers stormed into the local Circuit House and broke its windowpanes. They pelted the policemen with stones and bricks. The clash took place when a section of followers of the dera were holding their meeting.

After the news of today’s violence spread in this town, fear gripped the residents and almost all business establishments downed their shutters.

The policemen who came under attack resorted to use of tear-gas shells to disperse the followers. Most of the policemen ran for safety. Senior police officials, including DIG Jatinder Jain, SSP, Naresh Arora and commissioner, Faridkot division, V.K. Janjua and deputy commissioner Rahul Bhandari were able to bring the situation under control. The dera chief said some anti-social elements had played a mischief and no follower of the dera was involved in any sort of attack on the policemen.

He added that the followers got agitated only when policemen rushed its water cannon vehicle towards them when they were sitting peacefully on the road.

Meanwhile, activists of various Sikh organisations led by SGPC member Jagroop Singh Dhillon today burnt the effigy of Baba Gurmit Ram Rahim and jammed traffic on the Bathinda-Barnala road at Rampura Phul town of this district.

Though the followers of the dera also assembled in large numbers to resist the same, timely intervention by the civil and police officials averted a clash between them.

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