M A I N   N E W S

Dera violence echoes in LS
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 17
With agitated SAD members, led by R.S. Ajnala, taking strong exception to machinations of the Dera Sacha Sauda causing turmoil in Punjab and hurting the sentiments of the Sikh community, union home minister Shivraj Patil sought to assuage their feelings by asserting in the Lok Sabha today that the Centre had got in touch with Punjab, Haryana and other states to take appropriate action against the religious head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.

“We feel concerned and saddened with whatever has happened in Punjab. Nobody can support it and we have great regard for the Sikh community,” Patil said and assured that “whatever is legally possible will be done”.

“Nobody can be allowed to hurt the sentiments of another religion. The law will take its own course and appropriate action will be taken against those who have done any wrong. We have instructed the governments of Punjab and Haryana to take action against the guilty,” the minister said.

Raising the issue, R.S. Ajnala supported by the BJP insisted that the Sacha Sauda chief should be arrested and a probe ordered by the CBI into the entire affair. He accused the dera head of trying to project himself as Guru Gobind Singh.

Joining Ajnala were Saranjit Singh Dhillon and Rattan Singh, who alleged that the Congress was behind engineering the violence against the Akalis.

“This is not the first time that the Congress has taken recourse to such devious methods,” the members said, contending that their rival’s aim was to bring a bad name to the Akalis.

Further, they argued that the sect had openly campaigned for the Congress in the recent Assembly elections in Punjab.

At one stage R.S. Ajnala accused the Congress of supporting the Dera Sacha Sauda chief and trying to revive militancy in Punjab which led to heated exchanges with the treasury benches.

The SAD had sought to raise the issue in the Lok Sabha yesterday and Speaker Somnath Chatterjee had observed he will give them time to speak.



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