A non-bailable arrest warrant was issued on Wednesday against the Dera Sacha Sauda sect head, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, in connection with a criminal case registered against him at the Bathinda police station.
Before the warrant was issued, however, the Dera chief had already been planning a formal apology to the Sikh masses — he faxed an unsigned apology letter to the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee President Paramjit Singh Sarna on Tuesday evening.
"The Dera chief faxed me the text for getting it cleared so that he could send a signed copy to the Akal Takht Jathedar Joginder Singh Vedanti," Sarna told the Hindustan Times. He added that the Khalsa Action Committee would soon take a decision on the letter.
And even as all this is transpiring, the Dera Sacha Sauda called on the sant sangat on Wednesday to get prepared for qurbaani.
"The time to shed blood has arrived. Telephone your villages and call as many people as you can. The Punjab government has pressurised the court to issue non-bailable warrants against Santji," intelligence sources quoted Dera management committee office bearers — who spoke at the evening majlis — as saying.
As for the warrant, which is returnable by July 1, the court of Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate cum Duty Magistrate AL Khichy issued it. The court also directed the Bathinda police to get the state's sanction in this regard.
Earlier, a three-member panel, led by Additional Public Prosecutor Major Singh, answered queries that the court posed regarding certain technical law points for seeking arrest warrants. The court, citing Section 196 of the CrPC, had asked for the mandatory approval from either the Centre or state for the case registered against the Sirsa sect head under section 295-A of the IPC.
In response, Singh pointed out that the Supreme Court had ruled in 2006 that such approval could be obtained after filing the charge sheet or before the date fixed for framing charges.
Partly convinced, the court laid the precondition that the state government's sanction must be sought before the Dera chief is arrested.
Meanwhile, political observers have responded to the court verdict by saying it would pose various law and order problems for the SAD-BJP government led by Parkash Singh Badal. For, implementing the arrest warrant against the Dera chief is clearly an uphill task for the government and violence over the issue could not ruled out.