Dera chief ‘forced’ to leave Karnataka
Dera Saccha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was forced to leave Karnataka in a huff owing to protests by the local Sikhs, a spokesman of the Sri Guru Singh Sabha today claimed. Talking to the TNS, Harminder Singh, spokesman of the Singh Sabha said the protest demonstration by the Sikhs in Bangalore yesterday against the dera chief’s presence in the state and their subsequent meeting with the Governor Rameshwar Thakur seeking the controversial sect heads “expulsion” from Karnataka had prompted the state government to ask Gurmeet Singh to leave the state. Harminder Singh claimed they also got in touch with lok sabha deputy speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal and urged him to use his influence to rid the state of the dera chief. “We are very happy that our efforts bore fruit and the Saccha Sauda chief was forced to leave the state”, he said. Gurmeet Singh, who had come to his “ashram” at Mysore on Saturday night from Bangalore, left Mysore at the early hours of Monday. “He left the city at the dead of night and went to Bangalore from where he flew to Delhi”, V S D’souza, deputy commissioner of police (law and order), Mysore, said. “We did not tell him anything”, D’souza replied when asked whether the Mysore police had asked the Dera chief to leave. No protest demonstration was held in Mysore during the dera chief’s presence in the city, D’souza said. He, however, added that Gurmeet Singh was provided with heavy security cover during his stay in Mysore. Police also provided foolproof security to dera chief’s cavalcade when he drove to Bangalore from Mysore to catch the flight to Delhi, the DCP said.
Sikhs block Nangal Dam Express
To lodge their protest over killing of an ‘innocent’ Sikh in Mumbai by Dera Sacha Saucha chief bodyguard, the Sikhs blocked the train in Fatehgarh Sahib. Shiromani Akali Dal Amritsar(presidium) senior member Harpal Singh Cheema, SGPC members Karnail Singh Panjoli, Ravinder Singh Khalsa, Surinder Kaur along with other protesters staged dharna on the railway track in Fatehgarh Sahib and blocked the train. They raised slogans against the Dera head and sought his immediate arrest. \ While addressing the gathering Harpal Singh Cheema said that if the Dera chief was not arrested his party would participate in ‘Rail Roko’ programme announcement of Damdami Taksal on June 25. Karnail Singh Panjoli said that next course of action would be announced on June 25 evening as per the feeling of Sikh community. The blockade was lifted when Executive Magistrate assured the protesters to convey their feeling to higher authorities.
SAD team to call on Deshmukh
A high-level delegation, led by SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal, will leave for Mumbai tomorrow to meet the family of Balkar Singh, who was killed by the bodyguard of Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.
The decision was taken at a meeting of the SAD core committee, presided over by SAD patron and Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.
Chief Minster’s media adviser Harcharan Bains said the delegation would also call on Chief Minister of Maharashtra Vilas Rao Deshmukh to urge him to take strict action against the culprits.
It would also impress upon Deshmukh to take steps to safeguard the life and property of the minority Sikh community there.
Meanwhile, the SAD has appealed to Sikhs to maintain peace and communal harmony as preached by the Gurus.
The delegation would also meet the injured of the firing incident. It comprises Charanjit Singh Atwal, Sewa Singh Sekhwan, Prem Singh Chandumajra, Maheshinder Singh Grewal, Manjit Singh (Greater Kailash), Avtar Singh Hit, Onkar Singh Thapar and Dr Daljeet Singh Cheema.
SGPC executive meeting put off
The SGPC has indefinitely postponed its proposed meeting, scheduled for June 24 at Anandpur Sahib, in connection with the Mumbai incident in which a Sikh youth was killed.
Sikhs take out protest rally in Kolkata
Hundreds of Sikhs on Monday took out a protest march and later staged a sit-in here against the killing of a community member allegedly by the bodyguard of Dera Sacha Sauda chief in Mumbai last week.
About 500 Sikhs, under the banner of Central Gurudwara Committee, carried posters denouncing the Dera Sauda Chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh and shouted slogans.
Later they submitted a memorandum to the West Bengal Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi.
Dera Sacha Sauda, believed to be an offshoot of the Radhasoami sect, has been at loggerheads with the Sikh clergy ever since its leader appeared in public wearing the attire of 10th Sikh Guru Gobind Singh.
Ram Rahim Singh has also been in the thick of controversy for alleged sexual harassment of 'sadhvis' (women disciples) at the sect's headquarters in Sirsa and for involvement in the murder of a Dera manager and a journalist. He is facing trial in the three cases.
Police ban swords from Sikh funeral after clashes
Police on Monday ensured that none of the Sikh community members were allowed to carry swords at the funeral of Balkar Singh, the Sikh who was gunned down by the bodyguards of a controversial religious sect leader, Baba Ram Rahim Singh.
More than 10,000 Sikhs joined the funeral procession in suburban Mulund which faced violent protests on Friday and Saturday.
Balkar was among a group of Sikhs protesting the visit of the Dera Sacha Sauda organisation's leader outside a local shopping mall on Friday evening. As Baba was leaving, Balkar's car moved forward which caused Baba's bodyguards to fire on him and others. While two protestors died, Balkar died on the spot.
No clean chit to Dera chief in firing case yet: Police
Police today said there is no immediate possibility of giving Dera Saccha Sauda chief Ram Rahim Singh a clean chit in the murder of a 40-year-old Sikh man who was gunned down by the spiritual guru's private security guard last week."Our investigations are still on and therefore, there is no immediate likelihood of giving Ram Rahim Singh a clean chit," Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Rakesh Maria told reporters here.Balkar Singh Thakur Singh was killed after a security guard in the Dera chief's motorcade allegedly shot at him outside a mall in suburban Mulund on Friday evening. The incident led to violent protesting by the Sikhs in the Mulund locality till Saturday.Maria said that the police is right now reconstructing the exact sequence of events and statements of six persons have been recorded for the purpose.A cyclist who was injured after being hit by one of the vehicles during the melee and the government security guards who were accompanying Ram Rahim Singh that evening are among those whose statements have been recorded, he said.Meanwhile, Balkar Singh's funeral took place peacefully in suburban Mulund this afternoon, police said.Balkar Singh and his friend Thakur got into a tiff with the spiritual guru's staff while the latter was shopping inside the mall as they were not allowed entry into a shop.Later, when Ram Rahim Singh left the mall in a motorcade, the duo's car happened to come near it after which some of the escort staff got down from their jeeps armed with sticks. They allegedly broke the windshield of Thakur's car and the firing occurred during the melee.
Cops grill Dera chief's aides
The police are questioning 14 associates of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, including bodyguard Jagdev Singh, who is accused of shooting and killing Balkar Singh in Mulund on Friday. Officials said the Dera chief's visit to the mall was not scheduled and they were to proceed to Khalapur. The convoy was rolling along the Eastern Express Highway when somebody suggested that they visited the mall, one of the biggest in the city. Jagdev, accused of firing three rounds at the anti-Dera protesters, told interrogators that some Sikhs from Mulund Colony gheraoed the mall and pelted stones. "It was then that Ram Rahim decided to move out. Seeing the trouble, Balkar Singh took a reverse turn in his car and started driving on LBS Marg. His car reached the other gate where the Dera chief's convey was leaving the mall. The sevaks, including Jagdev, thought that Balkar was likely to bump his car into the convey and hence he fired." said an officer. The crime branch is making inquiries into what six policemen of the protection branch were doing when the trouble started. Sources said the police were recording the statements of the policemen who were escorting Ram Rahim on Friday morning. JCP (crime) Rakesh Maria said, "We are reconstructing the sequence of events and recording the statements of independent witnesses, including some shopkeepers, as to how the trouble began." The police seized two guns from the sevaks and sent them for ballistic tests. Asked if the Dera chief will be questioned, Maria said, "If something comes out, we will question him too."
Fearing protests, Dera chief chooses air over land to be home
Facing angry demonstrations by Sikh organizations all over the country, Dera Sacha Sauda Chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim reached the town in a chartered helicopter on Monday instead of coming in a cavalcade of vehicles like he usually does. According to sources, his helicopter landed in the Shah Satnam Singh Cricket Academy stadium located in the Dera headquarters at about 1 pm. The latest spate of protests against him started after his bodyguard shot dead a Sikh protester at a mall in Mumbai. Faced with possible trouble in Mumbai, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh had rushed to Mysore in Karnataka late on Saturday evening and stayed there overnight. He was provided with a heavy security cover there following disturbances in Mumbai and other places. As unrest started to grow over his stay in Karnataka, authorities shifted him to a secret location in the state. The Dera chief has set up a camp on the outskirts of Mysore where a building of the Dera will be constructed. Sources said 2.5 acres of land have been purchased near Siddalingapura for this purpose. Sources added the Dera chief later reached Bangalore from Mysore by a chartered helicopter and reached Delhi by air on Monday morning. The helicopter in which he reached Sirsa was hired from Delhi. Sources in the Dera said it was for the first time that Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh had come to Sirsa by a helicopter. Earlier, when he travelled by road in his cavalcade, the Dera chief used the stopovers to address congregations at 'naam charcha bhawans' constructed in almost all towns of the state. Sources said his confidants had feared angry demonstrations by Sikhs if he had come by road. DC V Umashankar confirmed authorities had also suggested that the Dera chief should use a helicopter as a journey by road could have attracted trouble.