As four men accused of shooting at Patiala Sikh preacher Ranjit Singh Dhadrianwale and killing one of his aides on Tuesday (May 17) were produced in a court here on Saturday, the supporters of a radical Sikh leader whose hand he sees in the attack stormed in and shouted: “We are innocent, but if Dhadrianwale defames Harnam Singh Dhumma, he will not be spared.”
The accused are followers of Damdami Taksal leader Dhumma. Raising slogans against Punjab Police and in favour of Dhumma and slain militant leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, 30-odd people barged into the courtroom and started pushing the cops who had brought the accused in. They then issued open threats to Dhadrianwale and showered accused Sukhwinder Singh, Manveer Singh, Gurpreet Singh, and Satnam Singh with flower petals.
The court remanded the accused in police custody till Tuesday (May 24). Their arrest had come on Friday. Accused Sukhwinder Singh told the media he was innocent and Dhadrianwale had got himself attacked for publicity and defaming the Taksal. “If he speaks against the Taksal in future, he will pay for it,” he said.
Charanjit Singh, a close aide of Damdami Taksal head Harnam Singh Khalsa and a representative of the Taksal in Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), accused police of targeting Dhumma supporters and framing them. “Dhadrianwale has been speaking against our chief for the past few months but the government and police have let it. We, however, will not sit silent,” he said, adding that if the police harassed or tortured the accused, they will face the ire of the Taksal supporters.
So far, eight accused in the May 17 attack are under arrest. A hunt is on for more.