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Dera being targeted for supporting SAD in 2017 assembly polls: Dera panel

Days after jailed Dera Sacha Sauda sect chief Gurmeet Ram Ram Rahim Singh was named in a 2015 case of the theft of a copy of Guru Granth Sahib from a gurdwara in Faridkot, Dera representatives on Monday claimed that they were possibly being targeted for supporting the SAD in 2017 assembly polls.

They further claimed that the false allegations were being levelled against the Dera in the case relating to theft of the Sikh’s holy book.

We wanted to tell that false accusations were being levelled against us, claimed Harcharan Singh, a member of Dera Sacha Sauda’s state committee.

Guru ji (Ram Rahim) has been made an accused in this case on the basis of statements of other accused (Dera followers). However, as per the CBI investigation, the accused had nothing to do with this case, Singh told reporters here.

We are being victimized, he said, alleging that the Dera followers could never think of indulging in sacrilege of the Sikhs’ holy book.

The claims of Dera representatives came days after their sect head Gurmeet Ram Rahim and three others were named in a case relating to the theft of the Guru Granth Sahib. Dera chief was named in the case after the arrest of seven Dera followers.

Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was named as a conspirator by the Special Investigation Team of Punjab police, which was probing the 2015 sacrilege incidents.

The case pertaining to the theft of a ‘bir’ (copy) of the Guru Granth Sahib from a Burj Jawahar Singh Wala gurdwara on June 1, 2015 was registered at the Bajakhana police station in Faridkot.

Dera committee member Harcharan Singh on Monday claimed that ‘Sangat’ (Dera followers) had supported Shiromani Akali Dal in 2017 assembly polls.

We did not commit any sin. There is nothing to hide. We had supported the Akali Dal in 2017 (elections). We feel we are being targeted possibly for that (extending support to the Akali Dal) because the order and everything was to be done by the government of the day, he said.

To a question, he said Dera had supported the Congress in 2007 assembly polls.

He said the Dera had been at the receiving end since 2007.

We had faced victimization in 2007 by the then government and now by the government of the day, he alleged.

The dera chief, who is currently lodged in the Rohtak jail, was sentenced to 20 years in jail for raping two women.

The Punjab police SIT has the mandate to probe three sacrilege cases. The cases are the theft of a “bir” (copy) of Guru Granth Sahib from a gurdwara in Faridkot, putting up hand-written sacrilegious posters in Bargari and Burj Jawahar Singh Wala on September 25 and recovery of torn pages of the holy book from Bargari on October 12, 2015 in Faridkot.

The sacrilege of religious scriptures had taken place during the previous SAD-BJP regime. The Akali government had handed over the probe to the CBI.

Amarinder Singh-led government withdrew these cases from the central investigating agency and gave it to the Punjab police SIT.

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Printable version | Aug 10, 2020 5:31:30 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/dera-being-targeted-for-supporting-sad-in-2017-assembly-polls-dera-panel/article32071221.ece

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