Seven days after sectarian violence broke out in different parts of Punjab following the standoff between Dera Sacha Sauda followers and Sikhs, the Punjab government on Sunday registered an FIR against Sirsa-based Sacha Sauda chief, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.
The case has been registered under Section 295A of the IPC for allegedly indulging in deliberate or malicious act intended to outrage the religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or its religious beliefs.
The FIR was registered against the Dera chief at Police Station Kotwali in Bhatinda following an inquiry conducted by Patiala Zonal IG MK Tiwari, said a Punjab government spokesman.
After the sectarian violence broke out, the Sikh clergy had directed the Punjab government to take action against the Dera chief for insulting the Sikh community by wearing clothes like the 10th Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh.
On May 13, an advertisement appeared in Punjab newspapers, showing the Sacha Sauda chief wearing clothes like 10th Sikh Guru Gobind Singh at a public function at Dera Salabatpura in Bathinda, following which violent clashes between Sikhs and dera followers had started in different parts of Punjab, which later spread to the neighbouring Haryana and Rajasthan too.
Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee chief Avtar Singh Makkar had termed the Dera head’s act as an insult to the Guru. Makkar as well as the Sikh clergy had demanded an apology from him. The Dera Chief had yesterday expressed regret over the incidents.
The Punjab government yesterday withdrew the state police protection given to Dera head. The government also shifted Bathinda SSP Dr Naresh Kumar who had drawn flak from various quarters for not handling the situation properly on the first day when Dera followers and Sikh protesters clashed, leaving 12 persons injured.