Heavy police force was deployed at Kot Shamir village in Bathinda district on Thursday to stop a religious congregation by radical Sikh leader Baljit Singh Daduwal.
Though not given permission by the district administration, Daduwal had announced to go ahead with the
three-day congregation at the village from December 5.
It is the first attempt at a show of strength by Daduwal after the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) took over the historical Jandalisar Gurdwara in the village, managed by Daduwal for the last 15 years, in October, while he was arrested in various cases.
Daduwal has been camping in the village after coming out of the jail and has also made a temporary arrangement to perform religious service.
Daduwal first wanted to hold the congregation at the grain market ground. After the administration turned down his request for permission, he arranged another place; however, the administration again did not give him permission.
Daduwal’s followers were making arrangements when the police tried to stop them. Reacting to this, Daduwal said, “There must be a reason to stop a religious congregation. It is just like the Mughal era when you needed no excuse to curb a religious right.
The government has been allowing religious gatherings of Sirsa dera followers but Sikhs are being prevented from holding such congregations.”
Daduwal alleged that the police were doing this to save the SGPC, which had occupied the gurdwara without the consent of the locals, from embarrassment.
Security at another congregation
Meanwhile, the Muktsar administration had made security arrangements for the three-day congregation by Sikh preacher Panthpreet Singh Khalsa, known for his opposition to the Sirsa dera, which concluded at a Gidderbaha village on Wednesday.
The dera followers had submitted a memorandum to the Gidderbaha SDM to check the leader from making any statement against the dera during the congregation. However, the event passed off peacefully.
Last month, a religious congregation by the dera followers at Mehmoodwala village in Ferozepur district had resulted in a bloody clash between the Sikh and dera followers.