The district administration has denied permission to Sikh radical leaders for holding ‘Sarbat Khalsa’ (congregation of the Sikhs) scheduled for November 10 at Talwandi Sabo, even as the police made 80 preventive arrests as a follow-up to stall the event.
“We have detained around 80 people across the police zone as a preventive measure,” Bathinda inspector general of police SK Asthana told HT. Radicals claim that police have rounded up over 1,000 persons across the state so far ahead of the ‘Sarbat Khalsa’. Among those arrested include Sarbat Khalsa-appointed acting Akal Takht jathedar Dhian Singh Mand. Heavy police force has been deployed in Talwandi Sabo ahead of the event.
Bathinda deputy commissioner Basant Garg said the permission to hold ‘Sarbat Khalsa’ was denied on Saturday keeping in view the law and order situation.
Sikh religious preacher Baljit Singh Daduwal, the Sarbat Khalsa-appointed jathedar of Takht Damdama Sahib said the cops directed to remove tents put up for the event. He said that they will announce their next move after a hearing on their appeal filed in the Punjab and Haryana high court seeking permission for the Sarbat Khalsa.
Bathinda senior superintendent of police Swapan Sharma said police didn’t remove or ask the organisers to remove tents. The organisers had started putting up tents on over 60 acres on the Bathinda-Talwandi Sabo road for the event.
Sikh radical groups, including Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), United Akali Dal, Panthic Sewa Lehar and some other organisations had announced to hold the Sarbat Khalsa on November 10 at Talwandi Sabo. Similar congregation was held in Chabbewal in Amritsar on same day last year following series of desecration incidents of Guru Granth Sahib and subsequent killing of two persons in police firing at Behbal Kalan in Faridkot during protest against the sacrilege incidents.
Meanwhile, SAD (A) president Simranjit Singh Mann has accused the Punjab government of trying to sabotage the congregation. He even threatened self-immolation if they were denied permission for Sarbat Khalsa.
District magistrate Basant Garg said as per the report submitted by the SSP, there were apprehensions of breach of peace during the event. “We have arrested some persons to subvert their plans to disturb peace and communal harmony,” he said.
13 ARRESTED IN GURDASPUR
GURDASPUR: Police arrested 13 Sikh hardliners in Gurdaspur district on Sunday to prevent them from taking part in the November 10 Sarbat Khalsa at Talwani Sabo. Similarly, six persons were arrested in the Batala police district.
These persons taken into preventive police custody under Sections 107 and 151 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and were presented in Gurdaspur and Batala courts from where they were sent to judicial custody till November 18.
SAD(A) CHIEF SCUFFLES WITH COP
BARNALA: Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) president Simranjit Singh Mann entered into a scuffle with a station house officer on Saturday night when police tried to detain him near Ghunas village in Barnala district.
While Mann remained incommunicado after the incident, SAD (Amritsar) general secretary Kushal Singh Mann confirmed the report.
Meanwhile, in Ludhiana, an ailing radical leader, Palwinder Singh Giaspura, on Sunday. Police also arrested SAD (A) district president Jaswant Singh Cheema among others under Section 107 and 151 of the CrPC. Giaspura claimed he was suffering from chikungunya.