M A I N   N E W S

Bhaniarawala, 7 others get three-year jail
Manish Sirhindi & Suman Bhatnagar/TNS

Ambala, May 13
A local court today convicted Baba Piara Singh Bhaniarawala and seven of his followers in two cases registered against them in Ropar district on charges of hurting the religious sentiments of a community and awarded them three years imprisonment.

Ambala Chief Judicial Magistrate A K Jain held the sect leader and seven others guilty in the cases and pronounced the verdict.

The convicted, however, were ordered to be released on bail after furnishing a surety of Rs 40,000 each and personal bond of the same amount when they moved an application for suspension of the sentence and seeking release on bail till the time of filing an appeal in the sessions court.

The verdict was pronounced amidst tight security arrangements as hundreds of Bhaniarawala followers had gathered there. A group of Sikhs raised slogans against the ‘spiritual guru’.

The controversial head of the dera located at Nurpur Bedi in Himachal Pradesh and seven of his supporters were held guilty last Friday.

The seven other accused, who were awarded jail sentence, were Harjit Singh, Jaswinder Singh, Surmukh Singh, Surjit Singh, Bhupinder Singh, Ashok Kumar and Rajinder Singh. Five others, namely Balwinder, Pritam, Sadhu, Karnail and Satnam, had been acquitted for want of evidence. Two of the accused named in the FIRs died during the trial period.

According to prosecution lawyer Brijinder Singh Sodhi, two FIRs had been registered against Baba Bhaniarawala and 15 of his followers by the Ropar police in 2001 at Morinda Police station under Sections 120 B, 153 A, 380, 438, 452 and 295 A. The complaint against the Baba and his supporters had been filed by sarpanch of Rattangarh village, Major Singh, who had accused the Baba of stealing Guru Granth Sahib from the village gurdwara.

During police investigation, pages numbered from 91 to 157 of Guru Granth Sahib had been recovered from the possession of the Baba and his followers.





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