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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Latest from India, yet another Singh is Shaheed bringing the total to 3

Security stepped up in city ahead of July 23 bandh

The city police have been put on high alert to prevent any untoward incident following fresh clashes between the Sikh community and Dera Sacha Sauda members in Haryana. In the view of the Punjab bandh call given by Sikh organisations on July 23, additional police force has been deployed in the city.
According to sources, senior district police officers are keeping a close watch on the situation. Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) (Urban) RK Jaiswal held a meeting with his officers and asked them to deploy police force in various parts of the city.
Sources said that though the entire city is under close watch, some sensitive areas have been zeroed-in on.
Speaking to Newsline, SSP Jaiswal said two companies of the police force had also been called from outside the district. He said the security has been stepped up till July 23 when Sikh organisations will observe a bandh. The SSP appealed to the people to maintain communal harmony.
Following the fresh clashes between the members of Sikh community and the Dera Sacha Sauda at Dabwali in Haryana on Friday, one person from the Sikh community had been killed. This had sparked widespread protest from Sikhs in Punjab and other parts of the country.
Some Sikh organisations have called for a bandh on July 23 to protest against the Dera head Gurmeet Ram Raheem.
Haryana Cult Clash Claims life of another Singh

The conflict between the Sikh Nation and the Sirsa based Sauda cult took another turn for the worst when clashes between cultists and Sikh protestors claimed another Sikh youth's life in the town of Dabwali in Haryana.
Furious over the latest murder, members of the Sikh community clashed with cultists for several hours before authorities managed to control the situation in the border districts of Bathinda, Mukatsar, Faridkot, and Sirsa. Tensions also flared in the districts of SriGanganagar, and Hanumangarh on the border with Rajasthan.
On Saturday, thousands of Sikhs gathered in large numbers at Shaheed Bhai Harmandir Singh's native town of Dabwali to pay tribute to the Sikh Nation's third Shaheed in the anti-Sauda Dera agitation.
Bhai Harmandir Singh, who was also known as Mandar Singh in the community, was a local leader of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Satkar Sabha. His body was cremated according to Sikh rites after being taken from a local Haryana Gurdwara Sahib in a huge procession and show of strength by the Sikhs.
The Shaheed Singh's body, draped by siropas (robes of honor) presented by Sikh organizations, was carried on top of a large vehicle with his father Sardar Mohinder Singh, Takht Damdama Sahib Jathedar Balwant Singh Nandgarh, and other prominent Sikh leaders, and members of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Satkar Sabha.
Passions were on edge as the large numbers of mourners raised loud Jaikaras of 'Bole so Nihal, Sat Sri Akal' and 'Shaheed Harmandar Singh Amar Rahay.' Slogans against the Sirsa dera and its criminal chief were also raised through the procession.
After the Shaheed's body was brought to Dabwali's cremation ground, an emotional farewell was given by the martyr's parents, elder brother, and wife Manjit Kaur. His surviving daughter, Sukhandeep Kaur, 5, and son Gurcharn Singh, who is only two and half years old, seemed oblivious to the tragedy that occurred in their family.
The Funeral fire for Bhai Harmandir Singh's body was lit by the shaheed's father and elder brother, along with Jathedar Nandgarh and Avtar Singh Makkar of the SGPC.
After the antim-saskar, Sikh leaders such as Simranjit Singh Maan, Baba Baljit Singh Daduwal, Daljit Singh Bittu, eulogized the martyr at the local Gurdwara at Dabwali.
There was a huge presence of local police, Border Security Forces, and Rapid Action Forces throughout the area, in which the entire border area between the districts of Bathinda and Mukatsar had been sealed and a curfew put in place. Only during the antim-saskar procession was the curfew lifted for about two and a half hours.
According to eyewitnesses, a local 'naam-charcha' (Sirsa cult meeting) was being organized at the residence of Sundar Dass Mehta on Friday. Volunteers of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Satkar Sabha, including Bhai Harmandir Singh, complained to the local police officials about the meeting, but officials, who themselves sympathize with the cultists, turned a blind eye to the issue.
When the Singhs, numbering only 15-20, began to protest outside Mehta's residence, they were violently confronted by the cultists whose numbers had now surged into the hundreds-heavily armed. In the initial attack, dozens of cultists ambushed Bhai Harmandir Singh with sharp weapons and latthis (staffs), several others were injured in this melee.
When other members of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Satkar Sabha found out about the situation, they quickly arrived at the scene and took possession of the Shaheed Singh's body, and in protest closed down the Delhi-Dabwali highway.
According to press reports, the deputy commissioner Oma Shankar, and senior police captain Venktarmun, soon arrived at the protest scene and attempted to disperse the protesting Singhs using the infamous 'lathi-charge' tactic in which half a dozens more Singhs were injured directly due to police brutality.
As reports of the mistreatment of the Sikhs in Haryana spread, more Sangat began to pour into the town of Dabwali, in which during the evening the Sikh protesters began to retaliate against the authorities and Sirsa cultists. It took several hours and reinforcements from neighboring districts before the Police could contain the situation.
As in the past, local government officials are suspected of sympathizing with and protecting the cult dera members, and are being partly blamed for the death of Harmandir Singh. They include deputy commissioner Oma Shankar, a sub-inspector Dalip Singh, and local patwari.

Legal Cases against Cult Leader

Several fresh developments in the Gurmeet Ram Rahim case this past week. While the Sikh Community mourns the death of Bhai Harmandar Singh, the murder by Sacha Sauda cultists will further intensify the case. In addition, another case was opened against Gurmeet Ram Rahim in the Chandigarh Division Court this past week by a widely renowned lawyer Arvind Thakur of the Global Human Rights Commission of Chandigarh. In a written plea to the court, Thakur testified that he has received death threats on behest of the Sirsa cult leader on July 7, 2008.
Although the court had sent summons to Gurmeet Ram Rahim to appear in the Chandigarh Court on July 17th or to send a legal representative, he failed to provide any notice of his absence from the court. The matter is being perceived as a dishonor of the law and legal system. Furthermore, the summons required the attendance of the Dera Chief’s personal manager and his youth division’s President but they also failed to appear in court. While the court adjourned without any decision, it was decided by the court that the Dera Chief should appear in the Chandigarh Court on September 4th for the case hearing.
The three officials of Dera Sacha Sauda have been accused of issuing death threats to Thakur and his family. The original letter, which was sent through registered email to Thakur, has been submitted to the court and its validity is being verified. A copy of the letter was also sent to the police after consultation of the Chandigarh District Bar. In the writ filed with the court, it was alleged that the Dera’s personal manager played a key role in issuing the death threat to Arvind Thakur.
Furthermore, Thakur asked the court to provide him with security as the Chandigarh Police failed to complete the necessary investigations on time and there could be danger to his and his family’s life. Thakur said that he is being threatened as he raised his voice against Gurmeet Ram Rahim for his wrongdoings.

Dhaarna Held Against Dera Chief

Co-ordinated by the Sant Samaj, the initiated Dhaarna for the arrest of the Sirsa Dera Chief concluded its fifth session today. Under the command of the Sikh nations renowned Parchaarak Sant Baba Ranjit Singh Ji Dhadrianwale, accompanied by members of the Sant Samaj, Sikh organisations and the Sikh youth, a Dhaarna was held in Sector 16, Chandigarh.Like before, memorandums were given to the governing bodies of Haryana and Punjab. To receive these memorandums, no senior member of the governing bodies was in attendance, only delegates were sent. After the four hour Dhaarna when the time for Ardaas came, four Sikh activists not being able to withstand the strong Indian heat and sunlight fainted. These included one woman, two Sikh youths and an elder member, who were given water and glucose to regain consciousness.Sant Baba Ranjit Singh Ji Dhadrianwale have already stated last week that their full support and backing will be given to this Panthic lobby against the Dera Chief. Sant Dhadrianwale has said that first the Dera Chief imitated Dasmesh Pitha and made a mockery of the Sikh traditions, then last year a Sikh was killed by one of his followers, and now while injuring others, another Singh has been shot dead by the cult leaders bodyguard in Mumbai.They said that co-ordination from Gurdwara Parmeshar Dwar Sahib (Shekupura, Patiala) meant activists of the Nirvair Khalsa Dal branches in various cities such as Sangrur, Sunam, Nabha, Bakhshi Vala and other parts of Punjab were able to take part in the ‘Rail Roko’ programme. Sant Dhadrianwale stated that the Government should fulfil its role by arresting the Sirsa Dera Chief and punish him accordingly. Sant Dhadrianwale repeated full support will be given to the Gurmat Sidhant Parchaarak Sant Samaj and Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s Damdami Taksal, as well as other like-minded organisations, who will continue the movement against the Dera Sacha Sauda of Sirsa, so that no one in the future again has the courage to challenge the Sikh Qaum.It must be noted that from the 9th July 2008, the Sant Samaj has been holding Dhaarna’s daily in this Chandigarh-based location, and an unbroken chain of these events will continue until the 19th July 2008.

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