About 16 followers of Sirsa-based Dera Saccha Sauda, besides two hundred unidentified followers, have been booked on charges of attempt to murder by the local police for the clash between Sikhs and Dera supporters on Sunday at Makhu, a rural town in Ferozepur.
Twelve people were injured in a clash in which gunshots were allegedly fired between the followers of the Dera and Sikhs at a village near Makhu town of Ferozepur district on Sunday. Police were able to disperse the crowds only after several rounds of firing in the air.
On the basis of statements by Dera followers, five Sikhs were initially booked by the police and now, on the complaint of Mohkam Singh of Chehrata village, police have booked Kulwant Singh, Nirmal Singh, Mehal Singh, Surinder Singh, Sukhmander Singh, Malkiat Singh, Puran Singh, Manjit Kaur, Gurbaksh Singh, Ravi Sharma, Harmandeep Singh, Balwinder Singh, Surinder Kumar, Jagjit Singh, Mangal Singh and Gurbaksh Singh, besides two unidentified Dera followers under sections 307, 295a, 323, 148 and 149 of the IPC and 25, 27, 54 and 59 of the Arms Act.
On Sunday, a religious congregation by the Dera followers was to be held at a school in Mehmoodwala village but Sikh representatives allegedly objected to it. Following the intervention of the local police, the venue was shifted to the house of a local follower.
A number of Sikhs allegedly gathered at the gurdwara of nearby village Jogewala and at around 10.30 am, when the dera followers were on their way to the follower's house, the Sikhs tried to stop them.
A clash between the two sides ensued and both the groups attacked one another with swords, besides physical assault and stone pelting. Gunshots were also fired in the clash.
Police had earlier booked Sikhs Dilbagh Singh and Bittu of Jogewala village, Amrik Singh of Ajnala, Lakhwinder Singh of Mahalam village and Gurlal Singh, head granthi of the Jogewala gurdwara, under sections 307, 323, 324, 427, 295a, 148 and 149 of the IPC besides sections 25, 27,
54 and 59 of the Arms Act.
When contacted, Sukhwant Singh Gill, SSP Ferozepur, acknowledged that Dera followers had been booked and close vigil was being maintained to avoid any tragedy. Both the groups have been asked to maintain law and order.