A Facebook post attributed to a local office-bearer of the Shiv Sena provoked the Sikh community and led to his arrest and tension at Ghanauli village near here.
After Sena’s Rupnagar district chairman Sachin Ghanauli was caught in the controversy, state party president Sanjeev Ghanauli claimed that the former had no hand in the post. “It is from a fake social-media page,” he told the media. After reading the objectionable poem, Sikhs assembled at a village gurdwara on Thursday night under the command of Khalsa Darbar Society Begampura president Satnam Singh. They protested against the Shiv Sena and threatened to gherao the homes of its leaders.
Deputy superintendents of police Harbir Singh Atwal and Tejinder Pal Singh Sandhu moved in with a heavy security force. Punjab education minister Dr Daljit Singh Cheema sent Rupnagar Municipal Council president Paramjit Singh Makkar and local Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader Sukhinderpal Singh Bobby Bola over to defuse the situation.
Former Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) member Gurinder Singh Gogi and other protesters, including Sikh activists Satnam Singh, Jaspreet Singh, Rajinder Singh, and Ravinder Kaur, accused Sachin Ghanuali of using foul language against the Sikh holy book and symbols of faith in the post. Later, police registered a case under Section 295-A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) against Sachin Ghanauli and arrested him.
The situation at the village became tense after Punjab activists of the Shiv Sena started gathering at Sanjeev Ghanuali’s house on Friday, alleging that Sachin had been framed. Sikhs also started assembling at the gurdwara, and as the Sena workers passed by on their way to senior superintendent of police Varinder Paul Singh at Rupnagar, they came out of their vehicles and raised slogans, provoking counter-sloganeering from inside the gurdwara. Police had a tough time keeping the two sides in their corners.
Later, the Shiv Sena workers to left for Rupnagar and Sachin Ghanuali was produced a local court that remanded him in judicial custody for 14 days. He was sent to the Rupnagar jail.