Case registered against Dera chief
CHANDIGARH: A case was registered by police against Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh for allegedly hurting religious sentiments, hours before a crucial meeting of Sikh high priests to decide on the future course of action in the stand off between Dera followers and Sikhs. The action came a day after the Dera Sacha Sauda expressed regret over "the chain of events" leading to violence in Punjab and said its head never intended to imitate Sikh Guru Gobind Singh. The Sirsa-based Dera head has been charged by Punjab Police under section 295-A of IPC relating to deliberate malicious act intended to outrage the religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or its religious belief, an official spokesman said. In an apparent bid to cool tempers of agitated Sikhs, the Dera Sacha Sauda on Saturday night expressed regret over "the chain of events" leading to violence in Punjab and said its head never intended to imitate Sikh Guru Gobind Singh. The publication of an advertisement in some newspapers in which the Dera head was attired in dress similar to that of 10th Sikh Guru Gobind Singh had sparked violence in Punjab in which one person was killed and around 50 were injured. The five Head Priests of five Takhts of the Sikhs are meeting in Amritsar to decide the future course of action. The Priests had given a three-day deadline on May 17, which ends today in their five point Hukamnama (Edict), including a social boycott of Dera Sacha Sauda and registration of a case. The case has been registered at Kotwali police station in Bhatinda on a complaint filed by Rajinder Singh Sidhu, president of Khalsa Dewan and Guru Singh Sabha, the spokesman said. Inspector General of Police (Patiala) N K Tiwari, who also holds additional charge of Bhatinda zone, would first conduct an enquiry. Further action in the matter would be taken depending on the outcome of the enquiry, he said. In a statement issued in Sirsa late on Saturday night, the Public Relations Department of the Dera said "we never intended to imitate Guru Gobind Singh and we are regretful of the whole chain of events". It said the advertisement that appeared in newspapers on May 13 showing Dera chief Baba Ram Rahim Singh in an attire similar to that worn by Guru Gobind Singh sparking strong protests from Sikhs and "created misconceptions is unfortunate".