Bathinda, January 29
Tension brewed up on Sunday between Sikhs and Dera Sacha Sauda followers over the virtual satsang of its head Gurmeet Ram Rahim, who is out on 40-day parole, at sect’s Salabatpura dera in Bathinda.
Police stopped Sikh leader Amrik Singh Ajnala at Kanhaiya chowk in Bathinda. He was headed towards Salabatpura
Ajnala also had an argument with Bathinda SSP J Elanchezhian at the spot where he was stopped.
Ajnala said the accused in sacrilege incidents as reported by police report was given huge security to organize satsang at Salabatpura.
Talking to mediapersons, Amrik Singh Ajnala said, “Modi government and Khattar government are repeatedly giving parole to the dera head. Bhagwant Mann government also today allowed dera head to hold a satsang in Punjab, whereas police have undemocratically stopped him from going to Salabatpura to lodge his protest against.”
Activists of SAD (Amritsar) and other Sikh outfits also staged a protest by blocking Bajakhana-Barnala road at Jalal village. As this road heads towards the Salabatpura dera, police cleared the road and took the protesters to undisclosed locations in a bus.
The protesters included senior leader of SAD (A) Ranjit Singh Wander, Baljinder Singh, Damdami Taksal leaders Resham Singh, Dr Baljit Singh
The Sikh protesters also shouted slogans against governments and
police administration alleging that both Union and state government
are working in favour of dera, whereas Punjab should have stopped this
event from taking place.
Meanwhile, dera followers in large numbers reached to attend online satsang. Followers also took out jaago at the event. Big screens were
installed in the pandal for the followers to listen to the dera head’s satsang.
Tight security arrangements were in place for the event at Salabatpura. Nearly 400 policemen were deployed outside the camp, whose leadership was given to two SP-level officers. Apart from this, four teams were kept on standby. The police remained on alert to stop the opposition to the satsang by the Sikh organisations.
The online satsang concluded amid protests in Bathinda. Ram Rahim has given a message to his followers to stay away from drugs by conducting an online satsang at Salabatpura from an ashram in UP. Flowers were showered on the followers at the beginning of the satsang.
The controversy surrounding the sect sparked off in May 2007 when the Dera chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim allegedly imitated Guru Gobind Singh in a ceremony at Salabatpura dera, which is its second biggest dera after Sirsa in Haryana and is sect’s state headquarters in Punjab.
Irked Sikh outfits had started protest, leading to a clash between Sikhs and dera followers followed by widespread violence in Bathinda and other areas in Malwa, where dera has its base.
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