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Sunday, May 20, 2007

Punjab The Latest as it comes

Salabatpura dera under tight security

Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service
Salabatpura (Bathinda), May 20

Two companies of the BSF have been deployed in and around the Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda branch in this village in the wake of alleged threats by various Sikh organisations.
The BSF personnel have set up “morchas” on the dera premises, spread over about 90 acres. A large number of BSF personnel have been patrolling the dera area.
The Sikh clergy had given a direction to the Punjab government to seal all deras belonging to the sect in Punjab by May 20.
Around 7,000 followers, who have been camping inside the dera, have also made their security arrangements. They have collected a huge stock of stones, lathis and sticks. Some of the followers were carrying firearms.
Earlier, following the deployment of paramilitary forces in the village and a flag march taken out by it, the situation, which became tense on May 17, started moving towards normalcy. No incident of violence, except the incident in which some members of the Sikh community chased away the followers of the dera near Dulewala village, near here, today, was reported.
On May 17, a large number of members of various Sikh organisations, expressing dissatisfaction over the edict issued by the Sikh clergy in connection with the alleged anti-Sikh Panth activities of Ram Rahim Gurmit Singh, marched towards the dera with a motive to destroy it. However, timely action by the police averted the situation.
Almost all roads leading to this semi-urban village have been barricaded with large number of policemen deployed at every checkpoint. All visitors to the village were frisked and their identity was recorded at the checkpoints.
Jatinder Jain, DIG, Faridkot range, said the situation in the village was normal.
He added that nothing had been left to chance as far as the security was concerned.
Meanwhile, a meeting of a peace committee, including members of various political parties, social and voluntary organisations, prominent citizens and religious organisations, was held by deputy commissioner Rahul Bhandari and SSP Nau Nihal Singh at Bathinda today. They appealed the people to maintain peace and communal harmony.

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