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25 injured in clash
Dera chief’s convoy attacked
Kiran Deep
Tribune News Service

Sirsa, July 16
At least 25 persons, including one RAF jawan, were injured, four of them seriously, in a clash between Sikhs and dera followers here today.
Security personnel control the unruly mob after a clash between Sikhs and followers of Dera Sacha Sauda at Ghukna Wali village in Sirsa district.
Security personnel control the unruly mob after a clash between Sikhs and followers of Dera Sacha Sauda at Ghukna Wali village in Sirsa district on Monday. A Tribune photograph

Trouble started when the Dera Sacha Sauda Chief was leaving after addressing a religious discourse at a dera in Ghukna Wali village, about 35 km from here. The paramilitary forces resorted to lathi charge and burst tear gas shells to disperse members of the two groups, who were pelting stone on each other. Members of both the groups were admitted to different hospitals and one of the seriously injured persons was referred to Hisar. As many as 18 persons were admitted to the local civil hospital.

The police has registered a case against the dera followers and Sikhs involved in the clash under Sections 148, 149, 332, 353, 295-A and 506 of the IPC on the statement of tesildar Amarjit Singh, who was present on the spot.

As many as 15 vehicles of dera chief’s convoy were also damaged in the clash. However, security personnel took the dera chief to dera headquarters through other link roads.

Later, Sikh protesters also blocked the national highway near Chor Mar. Tension mounted here after the dera chief, who was coming from Rajasthan along with his convoy, reached here to deliver a discourse. As the Sikhs came knew about it, they converged at a nearby gurdwara and marched towards the dera carrying black flags and swords showing their protest against "Naam Charcha" and gathered outside the dera.

The situation took an ugly turn when these protesters threw stones on the convoy of the dera chief, in retaliation the dera followers also hurled stones at them. Initially there were not enough police personnel to control them, later RAF and HAF personnel reached the spot and resorted to heavy lathi charge and also used tear gas to disperse members of both the groups.

Some of the houses of Sikhs near the dera were also allegedly attacked by the violent mob of dera followers. 

The clash took place despite the fact that Ghukna Wali has been declared a sensitive area in view of the ongoing tussle between Sikhs and dera followers. The peace committee was also assured by the dera that no religious discourse would be held in sensitive areas. Intelligence agencies too had warned of such an incident. 

The Deputy Commissioner V.Umashankar said the situation was under control now. Security has been tightened in the district and the areas near Rajasthan border. 

After the incident both the groups accused each other, while Daljit Singh Dadu, head of gurdwara Sri Guru Granth Sahib alleged that the incident took place due to failure of the state government to prevent the dera chief from holding a religious discourse in the sensitive areas. He alleged that it was the dera followers who had attacked the peacefully protesting Sikhs first. 

The dera spokesman Pawan Insan, however, said after the religious discourse Sikhs had attacked the dera chief’s convoy first.

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