Mulund victim to be cremated today
After violent protests by Sikhs in Mumbai over the past two days, the city saw an uneasy calm on Sunday. A team of the Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee was there to appeal for peace. ''We have appealed to the Sikh community to maintain calm. But it is the right of every individual to protest,''says Avatar Singh Makkar, SGPC Chief.Over 5,000 people are expected to attend the funeral procession of Balkar Singh, the man who was killed in firing by Baba Ram Rahim's guard who will be cremated on Monday.The police is taking no chances. Over 500 police personnel will be deployed across the city to ensure that the procession is peaceful.''We have asked them not to use swords and kirpans during the procession,'' says Prakash Landkhe, senior police inspector, Mulund police station.
Sikhs burn effigy of Dera chief
Sikhs blocked roads in a West Delhi locality on Sunday to protest against the gunning down of their community member outside a mall in Mumbai allegedly by a bodyguard of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Baba Ram Rahim Singh.
Around 50 Sikhs blocked roads in Subhash Nagar area of Najafgarh for about an hour and burnt an effigy of the Dera chief in protest against the incident which occurred on Friday.
Police detained about 30 people who were part of the protest.
The Dera Chief was at the centre of a controversy last year after Sikhs objected to depiction of Baba Ram Rahim in the attire of Guru Gobind Singh.
Sikh leader talks of CD as proof against Baba’s guards
Avtar Singh Makkar, president of Shiromani Gurudwara Parbhandak Committee (SGPC) — the supreme Sikh religious body — said that an amateur video recording by someone at the spot showed Baba’s bodyguards as abusive and aggressive.
“I saw the footage today and was appalled to see how the private bodyguards were chasing the public, all non-Sikhs, at the mall. They are seen hurling abuses and other expletives at the public while brandishing lathis all the time,” he said.
“I have instructed my associates to make a CD of the video recording and submit it to the investigating agencies as evidence against culprits hired by the Baba. The state and Centre should immediately stop the Baba from employing private security guards,” he said.
Makkar visited Balkar Singh Bhatti’s family in the evening and gave his widow a cheque of Rs5 lakh on behalf of the SGPC. The three injured were give Rs1 lakh each.
Dera chief taken to undisclosed place as Sikh protests spread
Dera Sacha Sauda chief Baba Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was whisked away to an undisclosed destination by the police under heavy security cover on Sunday.
Ram Rahim Singh arrived here late on Saturday evening and stayed overnight. A heavy security cloak was thrown around him following disturbances in Mumbai and other places during the last few days.
Balkar Singh (40), was killed when the Dera chief’s security guards allegedly opened fire on Sikh demonstrators near a mall in the Mumbai suburb of Mulund on Friday. Following the death, Sikhs went on the rampage in Mumbai.
In view of the growing tension, authorities shifted Ram Rahim Singh in a convoy and put him up in a place they kept secret. The security was so tight that photographers were prevented from going close to the convoy and a huge pandal was erected to prevent onlookers from getting a glimpse of the vehicle in which he was seated.
Ram Rahim Singh has established a camp on the outskirts of Mysore where it is speculated that a religious structure is likely to be constructed. The 2.5 acres of land has been purchased near Siddalingapura. Appeal for calm
As protests by Sikh groups spread to Bangalore, Mysore and Jammu, besides several towns of Punjab and Haryana, SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar appealed to them to “maintain calm and not to allow themselves to be provoked.” He said the protests should be within the “parametres of the law” and announced Rs. 5 lakh to dependents of Balkar Singh.
Sikhs blocked traffic on the Jammu-Pathankote National Highway and staged protests in Sirsa, Moga and Sangrur.
Damdami Taksal and Sant Samaj demanded that the Dera chief be arrested by Tuesday.
They asked the Centre to withdraw the Z plus security cover provided to him.
11 held in connection with gunning down of Sikh
Eleven persons associated with the Dera Saccha Sauda were arrested on Sunday in connection with the gunning down of a Sikh allegedly by a bodyguard of Dera chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh outside a mall in Mulund.
Besides this, a total of 27 persons had been arrested on charges of rioting for indulging in protests against the killing, police said.
The 11 arrested in connection with the murder case have been remanded to police custody till July 2. Those held for rioting have been remanded to the police custody till June 26.
Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, facing a threat to life, was staying at his sect’s newly built ashram at Siddhalingapura on the outskirts of Mysore under tight security, a top police official said yesterday.“The Dera chief has been provided Z-plus security under a directive from the federal home ministry. In addition to his own bodyguards inside, we have posted a platoon of policemen around the sect’s ashram christened Prathana Mandir (prayer temple),” Mysore police superintendent P Ravindranath said.To prevent protests or violence, people were not allowed to enter the ashram. Some devotees were, however, let in after screening and clearance from the ashram in-charge.“Unlike in Bangalore, there was no protest or demonstration by local Sikhs against the Dera chief at the ashram. There is no problem. The situation is peaceful,” Ravindranath said.The prayer temple is built on a 2.5acre land on the Mysore-Bangalore state highway and located opposite the popular Subramanya temple, where hundreds of devotees throng daily.The ashram is well-enclosed by an 8ft wall with one entrance. The huge prayer hall in the centre is a tall structure and visible from the highway.The Karnataka police escorted the Dera chief and an accompanying group of 50 followers to Mysore late Saturday from Bangalore by road after he landed at the new international airport from Pune, fearing threat to his life from a section of Sikh groups opposed to his sect.The sect’s head was advised by the Bangalore police not to leave for New Delhi as they feared a threat to his life on the basis of intelligence reports. For his safety, the state police had decided to bring him to Mysore.The head of the Haryana-based sect, who earned the wrath of the Sikh clergy, got into a fresh row after a youth was killed and two others were injured on Friday when his bodyguard opened fire on Sikh protesters at a shopping mall in Mumbai.
Minority Panel for judicial inquiry in Dera firing incident
Forty-five-year-old Balkhar Singh was allegedly shot dead by Dera Sachcha Sauda Chief, Baba Ram Rahim Singh's bodyguard in Mumbai's Mulund area.
The Dera Chief's bodyguard allegedly opened fire when Sikhs started chanting anti-Dera slogans in a mall that Baba Ram Rahim Singh was visiting.
Balkhar Singh's wife, Darshan Kaur is yet to come to terms with her loss. Wringing her hands in despair, she asks of nobody in particular: "What will I do now? He's gone!"
The Dera Chief has been at loggerheads with the Sikh clergy for a long time now. The trouble started last year after he appeared in a newspaper advertisement dressed as the tenth Sikh Guru - Guru Gobind Singh - and was shown distributing amrit (holy water) to people.
Following Balkhar Singh's death, angry protesters from the Sikh Community took to the streets late on Friday evening. They blocked major roads including the Eastern Express Highway and even stopped trains in Mulund on Saturday.
The police retaliated with lathicharge and even had to resort to tear gassing the mob, when people refused to disperse.
The Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) made an appeal to the community on Sunday to refrain from violence and SGPC Chief, Avtaar Singh Makkar appealed to the community to be calm and maintain peace.
It was only when Maharashtra state Home Minister, R R Patil assured the community that strict action would be taken against the accused that the protest was called off till Monday.
The State Minorities Commission has recommended judicial inquiry into the firing incident. The coming week will determine the state government's role in diffusing this standoff.
Meanwhile, the core committee of the Shiromani Akali Dal is meeting in Chandigarh on Monday. There is also going to be a Khalsa Action committee meeting on Monday afternoon.