Latest Breaking News from Punjab:Friday 6th July 2007
Court Rejects Bhai Daljit Singh Bittu's Bail in Sedition Case
FATEHGARH SAHIB: The Court of Additional Sessions Judge, Fatehgarh Sahib on Wednesday dismissed the anticipatory bail application of Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) senior vice president Daljit Singh Bittu booked in a sedition case by punjab police Hardev Singh Rai lawyer of Bittu said that they will move Punjab and Haryana High Court for the bail. It may be mentioned here that Bittu was booked by the district police on May 31 on charges of sedition after he allegedly raised provoking slogans during a protest march organized against chief of Dera Sacha Sauda. Bittu filed his anticipatory bail application in the court of District and Session Judge, Fatehgarh Sahib, who had earlier stayed his arrest for some time. Sources said as District and Sessions Judge is on leave, so Bittu case was presented in the court of Additional Sessions Judge.
Dharna in Chandigarh on 9 July
KAC shall hold Dharna in Chandigarh before residence of CM of Punjab and Haryana on 09 July, 2007. In this dharna 1100 persons shall participate. This is in protest of in-activeness of both Governments in dera sauda issue. KAC accuses both for favouring dera in one way or other.
6 More Khalsa Marches in Malwa
Khalsa Action Committee shall hold 6 more Khalsa Marches in six District of Malwa region of Punjab. March shall be held on 15 July in Moga, 20 July in Faridkot, 25 July in Mukatsar, 31 July in Barnala, 5 August in Sangrur and on 10 August in Mansa. Further Action shall be announced in a Convension to be organized in Gurusar Mehraj (Bathinda) on 14 August.
Khalsa Action Committee fights Dera, SGPC fights KAC
Punjab continues to bide time on a powder keg as fabric strains
Amritsar/Sirsa: At a time when the Khalsa Action Committee, the umbrella body of many a panthic organisations, is leading the struggle against Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim and the entire construct of deravaad, who, other than Gurmeet Ram Rahim, wants it to vanish?
"We do not recognise the Khalsa Action Committee. Only the SGPC will lead any agitation against the dera. We do not recognise any action committee formed after the dera head's blasphemous action." This was SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar, speaking to the media after a meeting of the executive committee of the SGPC which gave no new programme and discussed no new issue. The Khalsa Action Committee represents entire Sant Samaj, Damdami Taksal, Akali Dal (Amritsar), DSGMC, factions of AISSF, former jathedar Jasbir Singh Rode and many others.
Makkar, himself a hand-picked choice of Badal who came to the top seat through a Falstaff-turning-King move, clearly had no idea that under no Act, clause or law has the SGPC any authority to recognise or not recognise any other panthic body, but the arrogance which comes from being part of the Badal Darbar was writ large in his remarks. No preparations for the July 11 sammelan at Ratia in Haryana were discussed, and none were claimed to have been made.Meanwhile, developments on the Dera Saucha Sauda front continued at a hectic pace this past week, but clear signs are emerging that Gurmeet Ram Rahim is now upping the ante, looking for newer ways to build pressure, curry political favours and push the legal doors to finally have a chink through which he can escape the wrath of the Sikhs, the might of the law and the ends of justice.So, with Jathedars choosing to play on backfoot, the Dera sadh pressed for the frontfoot approach while the KAC had dug in its heels. The SGPC, led by Makkar, was largely donning the panthic spoiler's role.
So, just after the Akal Takht rejected the non-apology, termed it an unsigned 'press note', and the Khalsa Action Committee, by easing out DSGMC chief Paramjit Singh Sarna from the convenorship, sent clear signals that it will brook no lackadaisical approach but at the same time kept the united face by retaining him and prevailing upon him to stay as part of the panel, the murder and molstation-accused Dera head knew the game on the religious turf was going out of his hand. Those he could manouver were losing the respect and authority among Sikh ranks.
He dashed to the nearest source of succour, and got himself an anticipatory bail from the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Friday, just a day after the Parkash Singh badal regime belinked before the panthic lobby's pressure and nod was given for his arrest.
With this started the Dera end of the game. A young follower of the dera set himself afire to protest the arrest warrants against Gurmeet Ram Rahim, and was rushed to Rohtak hospital with some 80 percent burns.
The dera also fielded its women shakti, and a panel of its women followers met Punjab Governor SF Rodrigues, telling him that both Haryana and Punjab govts were informed of the contents of the 'apologies'. They wanted Rodrigues to direct the state government to withdraw criminal case registered against Dera head, something for which independent gubernatorial authority does not exist.
Across Punjab, the social fabric in rural countryside is still tense. In Samuka village of Sangrur, Sikhs denied the Guru Granth Sahib bir to dera follower Piara Singh whose mother had died. On June 8, posters against Gurmeet Ram appeared in Bathinda's Bandi village under Sangat police station, leading to tension. In Ballianwari village, Sikh residents forced a dera follower to remove the dera cry of 'Dhan Dhan Satguru..." from outside his house. In Kamalu Sawaich village, gurdwara commitee president Leela Singh resisted attempts to hold a nam-charcha. Situation was fairly tense when wife of Shaheed Kamaljit Singh, who was killed in firing from inside a dera in Sunam, was honoured.
Earlier, before the dera head had gotten bail, a large number of his followers took to the streets demanding the withdrawal of the case registered against him. Incidentally, he is the prime accused, it is a case of murder and the investigating agency is India's federal CBI, equivalent to the FBI in the US. One of the interesting accusations made by the dera's chief spokesperson was that the drafts of both the 'apologies' were approved by Punjab CM Badal.
Haryana police, keen on keeping the Dera head mollified, was scouting around for vegetarian security guards for the Z-plus securitised murder-accused, and the Haryana Chief Secretary was in touch with his Punjab counterpart to take stock of the likely strength of July 11 Ratia conclave.
Khalsa Action Committee Reorganizes
Amritsar Sahib (KP) - The campaign against Kooraa Sauda received a small setback when the Khalsa Action Committee (KAC), which was started to implement and execute the Hukamnama of Sri Akal Takht Sahib issued to counter the anti-sikh threats of Sirsa Cult, became fractured due to withdrawing of support from the Sant Samaj and Paramjit Sarna. Despite the internal conflict, the KAC has reconstituted itself and announced a new spokesman and convener.
New Khalsa Action Committee held meetings according to it’s plans - without the Sant Samaj and Parmjit Sarna. Sources within Khalsa Action Committee say some important decisions were made during the meeting, including naming the former spokesman of the Damdami Taksal, Bhai Mohkam Singh, the convener of the KAC.
In a related note, the chief of ‘Sant Samaj,’ Harnam Singh Dhumma, said after an emergency meeting of Sant Samaj at Zira, the Sant Samaj decided to remove Sukhchain Singh and Baljit Singh Daduwal from the Khalsa Action Committee. In addition to these 2 members, the President of Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee Parmjit Sarna has distanced himsel from the KAC.
Sources state that the committee has decided to meet with the Punjab and Haryana Chief Ministers to discuss Ram Raheem’s arrest as well as holding several protests and marches. The Khalsa Action Committee approved Sri Akal Takht Sahib’s rejection of the fresh Dera’s ‘apology.’
KAC Announces New Agendas, Anti-Dera March
Amritsar Sahib (KP) – The Khalsa Action Committee (KAC), that was founded for the sole purpose of implementing the recent Hukamnamas in countering 'dera-vaad' in Punjab, recently announced several key strategies to protest against the ongoing activities of the Sirsa cult and to demand strict action be taken against its chief.
A major plan to march upon the residences of the chief ministers of Punjab and Haryana, along with carrying out protest marches in six districts of the two states were also announced. According to the announcements by the KAC, a jatha of over 1100 black dastar wearing Sikhs would gather at Gurdwara Amb Sahib in Mohali on July 9th. This jatha would then proceed with the protest march and march to the residences of both chief ministers to protest against the activities of cultist Gurmeet Ram Rahim.
The committee also supported the decisions reached at the meeting of the Jathedars that took place at Akal Takht Sahib on June 27. It was decided that the protest march--that will go through six districts of Punjab and Haryana--would be in accordance with the mandates of Akal Takht Sahib and would proceed to reach its aims under peaceful terms.
The protest marches would be carried out from Moga, Faridkot, Muktsar, Barnala, Sangrur and Mansa on July 15, July 20, July 25, July 31, August 5 and August 10 respectively. It was announced that if the Punjab Police is unsuccessful in arresting the Dera Sacha Sauda cult leader, then a large scale Panthic convention would be held in the state of Punjab to discuss a further course of action and a fresh political agenda.
In addition, the committee also appointed Bhai Mokham Singh as its official spokesperson and convener. Bhai Mohkam Singh was elected to take up the duty after Paramjit S. Sarna had resigned from his post after the Damdama Sahib protest march. Paramjit S. Sarna had filed his resignation from the committee after the dera submitted a press note with a fresh 'apology'.
Court Grants Bail to Sirsa Cult Leader
Chandigarh, Punjab (KP) – Accused rapist and murderer, Sirsa Cult Leader Gurmeet Ram Rahim has taken a breath of relief as he was granted interim bail by the Punjab and Haryana High Court in the case of hurting religious sentiments of the Sikh community. According to the orders of the High Court, the arrest has been delayed until August.
The interim bail was issued by the Punjab and Haryana High Court on requests of Gurmeet Ram Rahim and his cult followers. The court was moved to take actions since the Punjab Government had given the Bathinda Police Station go-ahead to carry out the arrest of Gurmeet Ram Rahim.
The Haryana Government also did not cause any disruptions in the arrest process. But the mere go ahead of the Haryana Government did not mean anything since the arrest of Gurmeet Ram Rahim was not possible without the help of the Haryana Police. The Haryana Police on the other hand did not show much interest in helping the Punjab Police to carry out the arrest.
In the mean time, this gave the Sacha Sauda cult followers some time to seek help of the High Court to get the bail orders implemented. While the Punjab Police to some extent heeded to the pressure by the Panthic organizations, the Punjab Government headed by Parkash Badal, once again failed to work in the interests of the Sikhs.
Congress leaders such as Rajinder Bhathal and Shamsher Dullo have continued showing firmness in their stand to support Dera Sacha Sauda. As chances of Capt. Amarinder Singh leading the Congress party in the next assembly elections seem unfeasible, Bhathal and Dullo still see an advantage in aligning with Dera Sacha Sauda.
Dera Followers on the same hand have started a unique campaign to get the arrest warrant fully revoked. As several places dera followers carried out protests and some went to the extent of physically hurting themselves by self immolation. A delegation of Sacha Sauda leadership has also held meetings with several representatives of the Punjab and Haryana Governments to seek their support.
While these activities of Dera Sacha Sauda are continuing, the Badal Government has still not done much to help implement the Hukamnamas and Gurmattas of the Sikh community and because of its own shortcomings, the situation in Punjab is still tense. The general Sikh public does not want anything less than the arrest of Gurmeet Ram Rahim but on the other hand, the Dera followers are strongly opposing any such moves.