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Bangalore erupts on Dera chief’s arrival
Shubhadeep Choudhury
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, June 22
With Sikh groups hot on the trail of the Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, the beleaguered baba is weighing heavy on the police in Karnataka where he has taken refuge after leaving Mumbai.

Gurmeet Singh was taken to Mysore yesterday amidst heavy security after he landed at the Bangalore airport from Pune. “He is expected to leave Mysore this evening. Otherwise he may create problems for himself and for us,” deputy commissioner of police (law and order), Mysore, V.S. D’Souza said.

In Bangalore, Sikhs led by Gursharan Singh, president of the Sri Guru Singh Sabha, held a protest demonstration in front of the gurdwara at Ulsoor. The protesters burnt an effigy of the dera chief, organised a token blockade of the busy road (lasting less than 10 minutes) near the gurdwara and later marched to the Raj Bhawan and gave a memorandum to the Governor demanding Gurmeet Singh’s ouster from the state. The memorandum also asked for handing over of the dera’s property in Karnataka to the “Art of Living” guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.

“The presence of Ram Rahim Singh is hurting the religious sentiments of the peace loving Sikh community. We therefore request you to arrest him and send him to Maharashtra. We also request you to seize all his properties in Karnataka and it handover to Sri Sri Ravi Shankar or the Siddaganga Mutt,” the memorandum said.

The dera’s property in Karnataka includes a 2.5-acre camp at Siddhalingapura in Mysore. He came to the camp yesterday after landing at Bangalore. The camp is protected by a wall of about 8-ft high with only one point of entry. Within the camp, a huge structure, said to be the prayer hall, stands tall and is visible from the highway.

The Dera chief was at the camp sometime back when his followers organised a blood donation camp.

Mysore: Apprehending a threat to the life of the dera chief, the police today shifted him to an undisclosed destination after his presence here irked members of the Sikh community.

The controversial dera chief arrived here from Bangalore last evening in a bulletproof car and headed straight to the sect’s Prathana Mandir at Siddhalingapura on the outskirts.

The police guarded the mandir, not allowing anyone to meet him, and later shifted him to an undisclosed place after some Sikh youths staged a protest this morning.

On landing at Bengaluru International Airport, he was asked by the police not to proceed to Delhi as they apprehended a threat to his life and instead brought to Mysore for reasons of safety. — PTI



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