iconimg Saturday, August 29, 2015

Sat Singh, Hindustan Times
Sirsa, November 25, 2012
No violence was reported, but Sirsa remained under curfew, a day after a clash between members of the Sikh community and followers of the Dera Sacha Sauda led to arson and injuries to at least 12 people on Saturday here. On Sunday, even as the two sides blamed the other -- Sikh organisation Sri Guru Granth Sahib Satkar Sabha and the Dera Sacha Sauda both held congregations despite orders prohibiting assembly -- the police booked "1,500-2,000 dera premis", 12 of them identified, for attempt to murder and other charges. The identities were not disclosed to avoid further tension, the police said.

Seven companies of paramilitary forces remained deputed in the town, while the schools and colleges were ordered closed till November 28. Deputy commissioner J Ganesan and superintendent of police Rajshree Singh visited sensitive spots.

Meanwhile, Gurmeet Singh Trilokiwala, a member of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) who was injured during the clash and shifted to Chandigarh for treatment, said he was now "out of danger" and appealed for peace.

After a meeting at Gurdwara Dashmi Patshahi, the Satkar Sabha set a November 30 "deadline" demanding a case of conspiracy against dera head Gurmeet Rahim Singh, besides a stipulation that the dera must not hold its 'naam charcha' (congregation) in proximity of any gurdwara. Alleging that dera followers just having come out of a congregation attacked Sikhs, including Sabha president Sukhwinder Singh Khalsa, the Sikh body sought an end to the practice as per which followers stand en route wherever the dera chief goes.

The dera's followers, too, attended a weekly 'naam charcha' and their spokesman later demanded a case against the Satkar Sabha president and condemned the FIR against the 'premis' (as the sect's followers are called). Disputing the theory that the 'premis' started the clash, dera spokesman Pawan Insan said the fight started after a vehicle of the Sikhs' convoy crashed into dera followers who were returning after a 'naam charcha' around 4pm on Saturday.

Reacting to the Sabha's demands, he noted, "Followers started standing on the route of the dera chief after he was attacked by some Sikh radicals at Nilokheri of Karnal in 2008."