Moga, July 7
In a significant development, a judicial court in Moga today sentenced three Dera Sacha Sauda followers to three years of imprisonment after having found them guilty of sacrilege of a holy book at Malke village in Moga in 2015. Torn pages of Guru Granth Sahib were found on the streets of Malke village.
Granted conditional bail
- The convicted dera followers filed an application before the court seeking bail, which was accepted by the court
- The court granted them ‘conditional’ bail to file an appeal against the conviction in the sessions court within a stipulated time
‘Fauji’ Sewak Singh, an ex-serviceman, was the first person to report the sacrilege. “I left for my daily walk around 4 am. A Bolero had crossed me, but no pages flew at that time. So, I think this happened afterwards. I heard a motorcycle passing by around 4.45 am,” he said.
“I talked to family members of one Gurdev Singh who were already standing at their door when I walked back home in the ‘khoo (traditional well) wali gali’. Before touching the strewn pages, I made an announcement at the village gurdwara,” he said.
A criminal case under Sections 295-A (intended to outrage religious feelings), 295 (intent to insult the religion) and 120-B (conspiracy) was registered against unidentified persons at the Samalsar police station.
Later, a Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the Punjab Police identified the accused persons as Prithi Singh, member of the dera’s state committee and a resident of Baghapurana in Moga; Mithu Singh and Amardeep Singh of Malke village. The SIT got “vital clues” about the involvement of dera followers in this case during interrogation of Pirthi in the Bargari sacrilege incident.
The cover page of the holy book was found at Bargari village in Faridkot on the same day after which many such incidents were reported in other parts of the state.
Today, the court of Rahul Garg, JMIC, Moga, sentenced these three Dera Sacha Sauda followers to a three-year imprisonment. A fine of Rs 5,000 each has also been imposed by the court. In default of payment of the fine, they would have to undergo imprisonment for another six months.
Two other accused dera followers Dalwinder Singh and Satnam Singh, framed by the police as co-accused, had been acquitted by the court as no sufficient evidence was found against them.
Two years after this incident, another FIR was registered against dera men Amardeep Singh, an accused in the sacrilege case, his father Sukhmandar Singh, Mithu Singh Mann and his brother Gurmail Singh at the Samalsar police station for allegedly trying to bribe and influence complainant ‘Fauji’ Sewak Singh.
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