Bathinda chief judicial magistrate Harjit Singh on Monday directed Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmit Ram Rahim Singh to appear in court in person on May 10 in connection with a case related to Jaam-e-Insan controversy.
The court rejected a cancellation report filed by Bathinda police in the case, which was moved just three day before the crucial Vidhan Sabha elections in an obvious bid to woo dera followers, which had raised many eyebrows.
The CJM directed the dera head to apply for regular bail on May 10 and asked the public prosecutor to provide a list of persons scheduled to give evidence in the case.
It is pertinent to mention here that Gurmit Ram Rahim Singh had allegedly tried to copy the ceremonies once performed by the 10th Sikh Guru Gobind Singh at the Salabatpura headquarters of the dera in Bathinda on May 13, 2007.
The dera chief had performed the ceremony of Jam-e-Insaan (sweet drink) served to seven 'premis' (dera followers) similar to what was done by the tenth Guru in 1699 when he baptised 'panj piaras' or the five beloved ones who were initiated into Khalsa panth.
Subsequently, Punjab was gripped by violence between dera followers and Sikhs.
Following a complaint from Khalsa Diwan Sri Guru Singh Sabha president Rajinder Singh Sidhu, FIR number 262 was registered under Section 295-A, 153-A and 298 of IPC in Bathinda city police station on May 20, 2007 on charge of hurting religious feelings of Sikh community, promoting enmity between different communities on grounds of religion etc., though the challan was yet to be filed.
On January 27 last, police filed its investigation report in the CJM court along with an affidavit allegedly given by complainant Sidhu for cancellation of the FIR in the case.
Police claimed there was no evidence or witness to prove that any congregation was held at Salabatpura on May 30, 2007, and that dera head could not be hence prosecuted in the case.
However, contrary to this, the then Bathinda SSP Naunihal Singh submitted an affidavit in Punjab and Haryana high court on the petition filed by sect head, in which he claimed that a congregation was held in Salabatpura on the given date. He also claimed in the affidavit that there were enough evidence and witnesses available to prove the allegations against the dera head.
Interestingly Rajinder Singh Sidhu appeared before the court on February 4 after the elections and disowned the affidavit. He urged the court to direct the police to present a challan against the dera chief in the court at the earliest.
After the completion of arguments in the case, CJM Harjit Singh on Monday observed that evidence required to pursue the case against sect head was available on file and rejected the police application for cancellation of the case.
The court was to decide about police cancellation report on March 27 but deferred it for April 2 in the wake of ongoing tension in Punjab due to Balwant Singh Rajoana case.
Complainant Rajinder Singh Sidhu welcomed the court direction, saying, "As the dera head had played with the sentiments of the Sikhs, he needs to be given the severest of punishments and I stand by my complaint and never had I asked the police to withdraw it."