Wednesday, June 25, 2008
The Latest about Dog Ram Raheeem and Rail Rokho Protest
Sikh body demands arrest of Dera head
The Khalsa Action Committee (KAC) on Tuesday demanded the arrest of Dera Sacha sauda Chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, saying nothing less that this can pacify the Sikhs incensed over the gunning down of a community member allegedly by his bodyguard in Mumbai recently.
In a joint statement Issued here today Bhai Mohkam Singh, Kanwar Pal Singh and Manjit Singh Calcutta of the KAC said the arrest of Dera chief alone would pacify the Sikhs.
They also demanded that a case under section 302 should be lodged against the Dera chief for conspiring the killing of Balkar Singh.
Jathedar Giani Iqbal Singh Appeals to Sikhs
Jathedar Giani Iqbal has asked sikhs to remain peacefully protesting until the Dera Dog head isn't arrested. He has also asked every sikh to do Chaupai Sahib and Ardaas every day for the chardi kala of the sikh panth.
Sikh protesters block train services
Train services in Punjab were on Wednesday suspended following blocking of tracks at several places by Sikhs demanding arrest of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmit Ram Rahim Singh in the wake of the Mumbai firing incident.
The Sikh protesters squatted on the track at several places, including Amritsar, Sirhind, Malout, Abohar, Sangrur and Rajpura in Punjab to protest against the killing of a community member allegedly by a body guard of the Dera chief in Mumbai last week.
The 'rail roko' call given by Damdami Taksal, SAD (Amritsar) and certain radical Sikh organisations asked the protesters to remain peaceful.
"At least eight super-fast and five passenger trains have been cancelled for the day. Several other trains were being terminated short of their destination in order to ensure the safety of the passengers and rail property," Divisional Railway Manager, Ambala H K Jaggi told PTI.
Around 400 Sikhs led by Damdami Taksal chief Baba Harnam Singh, Chief of SAD (Amritsar Presidium) Daljit Singh Bittu and President of Sikh Students Federation (Mehta faction) Paramjit Singh Khalsa were staging a sit-in on the tracks at Madhopur village near Sirhind. The rail line connects Delhi with Amritsar and Jammu.
Punjab Police sources said here that though the movement of trains had come to a halt, the situation was peaceful.
Protest Against Dera Chief - Rail roko today
The government has sounded high alert in the state following rail roko call, given by the Damdami Taksal, the SAD (Amritsar) and certain radical Sikh organisations tomorrow in protest against the killing of a youth by a bodyguard of Dera Sacha Sauda chief in Mumbai. Leaders of various Sikh outfits have gone underground, fearing crackdown by the police.
However, radical Sikh organisations, including the Khalra Mission Committee, have urged Sikhs to maintain peace during the bandh.
Dal Khalsa general secretary Kanwarpal Singh said the Sikhs should not annoy common man by damaging the public property during dharnas against Dera Sacha Sauda chief.
SAD(A) general secretary Ram Singh said his party would also resort to rail roko at its own level.
On the other hand, the Khalsa Action Committee announced that only arrest of the Dera head would pacify the Sikhs. Taking a jibe at the SGPC president's call for a judicial probe into the murder of Balkar Singh at the hands of the guards of the Dera chief in Mumbai, the committee said nothing less than the arrest of the Dera chief would pacify the Sikhs.
In a joint statement, Bhai Mohkam Singh, Kanwar Pal Singh and Manjit Singh Calcutta said such unreasonable statements of a person holding high post would further confound the issue and delay justice. There was no need to muddle the issue at this crucial stage, they advised Jathedar Avtar Singh. They demanded a case under Section 302, IPC, be lodged against the Dera chief for conspiring in the killing of Balkar Singh.
On the provocative statement of Shiv Sena head Bal Thackeray that if Marathas rose there will be a big disaster for Sikhs, the office-bearers of the KAC said without understanding the genesis of the problem and without realising the concern of the Sikhs, Thackeray had gone overboard. "Thackeray and others should take the pain and agony of the Sikhs into account before dubbing them 'trouble-makers'. However, they clarified Sikhs were committed to peace and harmony wherever they reside.
Meanwhile, the Sikh Nation Organisation also flayed the statement of the SGPC president in demanding a judicial probe into the killing which they described as meaningless “delaying tactic”. President of the organisation Manjit Singh Randhawa called for complete revamping of the SGPC.
Politicians appeal for peace as Sikhs demand justice
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has appealed the people to maintain calm in the wake of protests by Sikhs over the alleged killing of a community member by security guards of the controversial Dera Sacha Sauda sect chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.
"We appeal to all the people to maintain peace and brotherhood. No disruption of peace will be there," Badal said.
Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda also promised strict action against anybody who takes the law into their hands.
"The Government of Haryana is fully prepared to maintain law and order in the state. Nobody is above law and law will take its course," Hooda said.
Meanwhile, Sant Harnam Singh Dhuma, the chief of the Damdami Taksal, a Sikh organisation, has condemned the state administration for its leniency against the Dera chief who he believes has brought disrepute to the Sikh community.
"The government should take strict legal action against these people who don't have any regard for other religions. They should be punished, but the police is taking action against those who are protesting against it. This is partial treatment to a particular sect. The government should arrest him," claimed Dhuma.
Meanwhile, the president of the Mumbai unit of the Shiromani Akali Dal has urged the Maharashtra Government to punish the guilty.
"We demand that all guilty should be prosecuted immediately. Secondly, we request the Chief Minister and the Governor to accept the reaction of Sikhs to the killing as a sentimental outburst. The Government of Maharashtra has registered some cases against the protestors and we have requested it to treat them sympathetically," said Sukhbir.
Ties between the Dera Sacha Sauda sect and Sikhs have been strained for nearly a year now after Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh allegedly imitated the last Sikh guru-- Guru Gobind Singh.
The enraged Sikh community forced Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh to tender an apology, which was rejected by the Sikh clerics.
Akali Dal demands probe into Sikh's killing
Punjab's ruling Shiromani Akali Dal on Tuesday sought a judicial probe into the firing by the private security guards of controversial Dera Sacha Sauda sect chief Gurmit Ram Rahim Singh.
A delegation led by Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal met Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh at Mantralaya and demanded a judicial probe into the incident.
"Deshmukh has assured us of a speedy probe. We have sought a judicial inquiry to enable prompt action against the guilty", Badal told reporters after the meeting.
"When the so-called Baba had 'Z' plus security, what were private security guards doing with him", Badal asked? The decision to send the delegation was taken at a meeting of senior Akali Dal leaders yesterday in Chandigarh, presided by Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.
The delegation included Lok Sabha deputy speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal and senior Akali Dal leaders, who also met family members of Balkar Singh, who was killed in the firing allegedly by security guards of the sect chief at a shopping mall in Mulund area of Mumbai.
Asked about the violent protests by sword-wielding Sikhs after the firing, Badal said it was a "spontaneous and emotional outburst" and no one had orchestrated the protests.
"We have asked the state government to take a sympathetic view of the emotional protests and withdraw cases against arrested agitators," Badal said.
Sikhs hold protest at Fatehabad
Sikhs held a peaceful protest demonstration at Fatehabad demanding action against the Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmit Ram Rahim Singh following the killing of a community member at Mumbai allegedly by his security guard even as situation at Sirsa remained peaceful today with Haryana police intensifying its security arrangements. The Gurdwara Singh Sabha of Fatehabad in Haryana organised a peaceful protest demonstration today. The protestors submitted a memorandum to the local Deputy Commissioner demanding action against the Dera chief, who has been at loggerheads with the community since last year in May when he appeared dressed in attire similar to that of 10th Sikh Guru Gobind Singh. The protesting Sikhs at Fatehabad did not resort to any road blockade, a report from the district headquarter said. Commissioner and Inspector General of Police (IGP) of Hissar P C Bidhan and A K Dhull jointly addressed a meeting of heads of BSF and RAF companies deployed at Sirsa - the headquarters of the dera in the wake of the mumbai incident. Both appealed to the Sikhs and the Dera followers to maintain peace and communal amity in the district. They said that all the 36 sensitive villages and spots have been identified and 18 check-posts and barricades have been set up to check the activities of anti-social elements. Dhull said that the entire district has been divided in 11 zones and 2 duty magistrates have been deputed to coordinate with the police and the other district officials as and when needed. They also appealed that the local peace committee to reactivate itself and extend a helping hand in the maintenance of peace and communal harmony. The peace committee was constituted immediately after the Dera-Sikh strife that started over the dress donned by the Dera chief Gurmit Ram Rahim Singh, which allegedly resembled to the one adorned by the 10th Sikh Guru in the month of May last year. The IGP asked the SHOs of the district to form peace committees in the respective areas under their jurisdiction to ensure peace. Both the Dera followers and the prominent Sikh leaders have assured their full cooperation for maintaining peace, Dhull added. Both of them also warned that peace and communal harmony would be maintained in the district at all costs and none would be allowed to disturb peace and amity.
Four more staff members of Dera chief arrested
Four staff members of Dera Saccha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh held in connection with the gunning down of a Sikh outside a suburban mall were taken to the spot of the crime in order to reconstruct the sequence of events which led to the shooting, police said on Tuesday.
Statements of 30 persons, including the 14 accused and six officials from the city police's Special Branch (SB) who were escorting the Dera chief, have been recorded so far, Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Rakesh Maria said here.
He said SB officials escorting Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh were only aware of his visit in Andheri but not about the visit to a mall in Mulund where the incident had occurred.
Asked the SB officials did not stop at the spot after the firing, Maria said it was the SB officials who informed Police Control Room about the incident but they proceeded with the cavalcade as they had to look after the safety of a high risk individual like Rahim Singh who enjoys Z category security cover.
Based on the statements, police can ascertain if the firing was unprovoked or in self defence.
Balkar Singh Thakur Singh was killed after a security guard in the Dera chief's motorcade shot at him outside a mall in suburban Mulund on Friday evening. Some of the Dera chief's staff also took out sticks and started hitting people and damaged the deceased's vehicle.
The incident led to violent protesting by Sikhs in Mulund locality till Saturday. 14 staff members of the Dera chief were arrested in connection with the murder and rioting incident on Friday while 27 Sikhs were held for the violent protests the next day.