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Calm returns to Salabatpura
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Salabatpura (Bathinda), May 18
A day after thousands of Sikhs surrounded the Salabatpura branch of Dera Sacha Sauda threatening to attack the same, the situation was brought under control after paramilitary forces where deployed in the village. A flag march was also taken out in this village of Bathinda district today.

DIG, Faridkot range, Jatinder Jain said eight companies of paramilitary forces, including four companies of Border Security Force (BSF) and four companies of Rapid Action Force (RAF) of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) had reached the Bathinda district. He said one company had been deployed in Mansa district.

Terming the situation as peaceful and under absolute control, he said there was adequate paramilitary presence in the area.

The situation in this village had turned volatile late last evening when thousands of members of various Sikh organisations had marched towards the dera here threatening to destroy it. The angry protesters were expressing their dissatisfaction over the edict issued at Takht Damdama Sahib yesterday by Sikh clergy in connection with the alleged anti-Sikh Panth activities.

Sensing the gravity of the situation, the police had swung into action and deployed a large number policemen here along with erecting checkpoints on roads leading to this village.

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Dera wants Makkar arrested
Kiran Deep
Tribune News Service

Sirsa, May 18
After the Sikhs high priests’ edict, now the Dera Sacha Sauda sect high-level committee, in a strong tone today, demanded the arrest of the SGPC president Avtar Singh, former SGPC president Bibi Jagir Kaur and three “hardliners” Baljit Singh, Daljit Singh and former Akal Takht jathedar Bhai Ranjit Singh, holding them responsible for the yesterday’s attacks on a number of deras in Punjab.

The official-bearers of the sect maintained that they were ready to hold a dialogue with the Sikh high priests to solve the problem. “We have opened all channels to solve the conflict, but the Sikh hardliners have not responded so far,” the committee said. It maintained that the Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh had never imitated the 10th Guru Gobind Singh. So we can solve this issue with mutual consent once the dialogue is opened, a committee member added.

The chief spokesman of the dera Dr Aditya Arora said that the high level committee of the dera, comprising office-bearers from all over the country, took the decision here after holding a series of meetings. We demanded that the criminal cases should be registered against all five “fundamentalists”, including the SGPC president Avtar Singh, and they should be arrested. A number of deras were burnt in Punjab and foul language used. This could have been avoided if they had made an attempt to solve the dispute with mutual consent, he added.

He said that it was unfortunate that the Punjab government remained a mute spectator in the whole episode and did not utter a single word to control the deteriorating the law and order situation yesterday. The government even did not express its concern for the families of yesterday’s incidents.

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