With several Sikh organisations disagreeing with the Akal Takht move to exonerate Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, head of Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda, of blasphemy charges, the state government now fears for the security of the high priests who were part of the decision.
The security at the official residence of Giani Gurmukh Singh, high priest of Takht Damdama Sahib at Talwandi Sabo, was beefed up on Saturday, though officially, the Talwandi Sabo police said only the men deployed already had been put on alert. Police sources said the force was added in the wake of sharp reaction from Sikh hardliners to the Akal Takht decision. “This level of security is usual at the jatherdar’s residence,” said Talwandi Sabo deputy superintendent of police Balwinder Singh. Talwandi Sabo station house officer (SHO) Gursher Singh said the security at the jathedar’s house had been “reviewed” on Saturday.
Meanwhile, local members of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), led by executive member Mohan Singh Bangi, appealed to the hardliners to accept the Akal Takht decision, since it was based on not political but religious grounds, to pave way for social harmony in Punjab. SGPC members Sukhdev Singh Bahia, Gurtej Singh Dhadde, Surjit Singh Raipur, and Mithu Singh Kahnke were with Bangi.
Activists of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) held a protest in Moga against the exoneration. Besides single-screen cinema houses Pukhraj and Alankar, the multiplexes in Bathinda also started screening the movie ‘MSG-2’, featuring the Sirsa dera chief, on Saturday. The show also opened at multiplexes Big Cinema, Fun Cinema and Q-Cinema.