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Clergy appeals for peace in Punjab

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CLEARING THE AIR: Dera Sacha Sauda chief Baba Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh addresses his followers in Sirsa on Sunday.
CLEARING THE AIR: Dera Sacha Sauda chief Baba Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh addresses his followers in Sirsa on Sunday.

Staff Correspondent

Leaders warn Sikh community against conspiracies and rumours

CHANDIGARH: An uneasy calm prevailed in Punjab, with no untoward incident reported on Sunday that marked the expiry of the ultimatum served by the apex Singh Sahibs (clerics) of the Sikh community, seeking closure of all premises of the Dera Sacha Sauda, whose chief, Baba Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, has been accused of hurting religious sentiments.

Addressing a gathering at Gurdwara Nanakiana Sahib in Sangrur, Jathedar of the Akal Takht Joginder Singh Vedanti, president of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) Avtar Singh Makkar and chief of the Damdami Taksal Harnam Singh Dhuma appealed to the Sikh community to remain calm and disciplined.

Speaking on the occasion of the "bhog" of Kamaljit Singh, who died of bullet injuries which he sustained during a clash with the Dera followers on May 18, the leaders warned the Sikh community against conspiracies and rumours.

While no political leader was allowed to address the congregation, the religious leaders directed the community against brandishing unsheathed swords, while organising protests across the world against the blasphemous acts of the Dera chief.

Leaders of the Sikh community have called upon the believers in the `Panth' to assemble at Fatehgarh Sahib on May 31. From there, led by a committee formed by the Akal Takht, they would march to Chandigarh and submit a memorandum to the Governors of Punjab and Haryana for expediting action against the Dera chief, who already has CBI probes pending against him.

As per the schedule announced on May 20, the Singh Sahibs will meet at the Akal Takht on Thursday to chalk out the next course of action.

Police deployed

While villagers organised `langars' (community meals) and `chhabeels' (offer water and cool drinks), the police and security forces did not take any chances. Heavy deployment of armed personnel, brisk patrolling and searches were the order of the day. At strategic checkpoints, personnel searched those proceeding towards the venue of the ceremony. Some sharp edged weapons from non-baptised Sikhs were recovered.

The number of guards at the various premises of the Dera, were also augmented.


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