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Sunday, May 20, 2007

Punjab The Latest as it comes

Sacha Sauda followers fleeing state
May 20

Families of Dera Sacha Sauda followers have started fleeing their homes in Punjab fearing attacks in the wake of sectarian clashes that erupted on Monday over the alleged sacrilege by their leader Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.
An uneasy calm prevailed today in predominantly Sauda neighbourhoods here with dozens of families slipping away to escape possible clashes.
“This conflict between Dera Sacha Sauda followers and the rest of the Sikh community has caused a lot of loss to everyone. Amid clashes and conflict, confusion and ambiguity prevail and that is why people are fleeing the area,” said Sanjeev Kumar, shocked as he woke up to a deserted neighbourhood on Saturday.
Sauda followers accuse the state government of having an inherent bias against them.
“The situation is Bathinda is tense. Families are leaving in large numbers. The situation is volatile. There is not much we can say about it, but families leaving Bathinda is unfortunate,” said Yogesh Batis, a resident of another Sauda-dominated neighbourhood elsewhere in the city.
Ram Rahim Singh on late Saturday night issued a statement regretting the incidents of the past few days, including the publication of the advertisement in which he appeared dressed up as Guru Gobind Singh that led to the tension.
However, his ‘regret’ has not pacified Sikh leaders who are meeting today to chalk out their future strategy. — ANI

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