Dhian Singh Mand, the interim jathedar of Akal Takht appointed by the radical Sarbat Khalsa, and his associates Mohkam Singh and Paramjit Singh Jejeani were released on bail from Nabha jail on Tuesday evening.
Meanwhile, in wake of the announcement by radical jathedars to visit Akal Takht, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) and police on Tuesday beefed up security at the Golden Temple and its surrounding areas.
Mand and associates were arrested at the Shambu Barrier on Sunday night.
Since Tuesday morning, employees of SGPC’s task force were deployed in large numbers at the Golden Temple. SGPC chief secretary Harcharan Singh, along with additional secretary Daljit Singh Bedi, were seen overseeing security arrangements made to prevent any activity by Sikh radicals. Policemen in civil dress were spotted inside the complex.
Supporters demand Mand’s release
Earlier in the day, supporters of Mand climbed up various mobile towers in Patiala district, demanding his release. To protest against Mand’s arrest, Amarjit Singh and Karamjit Singh climbed up the mobile tower at the BSNL office near the Kali temple in Patiala. Balbir Singh and Harvinder Singh Laddi climbed up the tower near the cremation ground near Samana bus stand.
Police rounded up Gurcharan Singh Waraich and Banarsi Singh at Patiala as they were threatening to commit suicide in case the state government did not release Mand and others. Police officials rushed to the spot and tried to reason with them saying they might submit a written demand.
SAD (Mann) district president, rural, Sarup Singh Sondha, alleged that the state government had arrested Mand and associates under a conspiracy. He alleged that the police did not allow supporters to drink water as they were protesting in the scorching heat.
In the evening, as the word about Mand’s release spread, protesters in Patiala climbed down the towers. After their release, Mand and associates went to Patiala to meet the protesters. DSP Harpal Singh said Mand and others visited the place where their supporters had climbed up the tower, but the police had already managed to bring them down.
Meanwhile, Nihangs Amrik Singh and Sukhbir Singh climbed a water tank at Sarja Mirja village, 20 km from Tarn Taran, and started a fast unto death in protest against the arrest. Police reached the village and asked the agitators to end their protest. They were demanding the release of the Sikh hardliners and arrest of those involved in incidents of desecration of Guru Granth Sahib.