Tribune News Service
Faridkot, June 10
Continuing its spate of arrests in the three-year-old sacrilege incidents at Burj Jawahar Singh Wala and Bargari villages, which triggered massive protests in the state in October 2015, the special investigation team (SIT) of the Punjab Police rounded up 10 more Dera Sacha Sauda followers on Sunday from Kotkapura and Faridkot area.
The SIT had already detained four dera followers, including a state committee member of the dera from Palampur in Himachal Pradesh, and Kotkapura.
After raiding houses of some dera followers in the early hours on Sunday, the SIT rounded up Nishan Singh, Sandeep Kumar Bittu of Kotkapura, Baljit Singh of Sikhanwala village, Randeep Singh Neela, his brothers Pawandeep Singh and Ranjit Singh, Ajaib Singh of Faridkot, Nirmal Singh of Bhana village and two other residents of Faridkot.
While the Faridkot police are maintaining silence about these developments, most of the leading members of Dera Sacha Sauda in this area have gone into hiding and their mobile phones have been switched off.
In anticipation of a threat to security of the family members of these detained dera followers at the hands of radicals, the police have deployed security at their houses.
The family members of the detained dera men alleged that the police did not share any information about where they had been taken and they were not being allowed to meet them.
Declining to share any information about the developments, SIT head DIG Ranbir Singh Khatra said the investigation details would be divulged at an appropriate time. Some of those who were detained were allegedly involved in vandalism incidents in Faridkot after the CBI court in Panchkula convicted dera head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in a rape case on August 25, 2017.
On the basis of images captured by a CCTV camera installed at a petrol pump in Chehal village of Faridkot, the police had booked 21 dera followers for vandalism.
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