Bargari sacrilege: SIT arrests three Sirsa dera followers
Police sources said Sunny Kanda, who is a member of Sirsa dera block committee, his brother Sukhwinder Singh and their cousin Jaggi Mansa were arrested from a house on Muktsar road in Kotkapura.punjab Updated: Jun 10, 2018 10:44 IST
The special investigation team (SIT) have arrested three Sirsa dera followers, suspected to be the prime accused in the 2015 Bargari sacrilege incident that triggered a string of protests in the state.
Though the SIT head Ranbir Singh Khatra did not respond to repeated calls, a DGP-rank official confirmed the arrests. “Three persons were arrested on Friday and we have got vital leads,” the officer, who didn’t want to be named, said.
Police sources said Sunny Kanda, who is a member of Sirsa dera block committee, his brother Sukhwinder Singh and their cousin Jaggi Mansa were arrested from a house on Muktsar road in Kotkapura.
This comes close to the heels of arrest of Mohinder Pal Bittu, a state committee member of the dera, from Palampur in Himachal Pradesh on Thursday. Hailing from Kotkapura, Bittu had been absconding since August 2017 following the conviction of Dera chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim.
Bittu was among dera followers booked by the Panchkula police for arson following the dera head’s conviction.
To evade his arrest, Bittu had allegedly been living in Palampur and running a small restaurant. He was nabbed following a tip-off.
The state government is under immense pressure since the start of an indefinite protest by Sikh radical leaders at Bargari last week. They are demanding the arrest of the accused of sacrilege incidents and the police officials responsible for the killing of two Sikh protesters at Behbal Kalan in October 2015.
Bittu’s brother Surinder Kumar has alleged frame-up. “Bittu is being made a scapegoat to pacify the protesters at Bargari,” he alleged. “We have always respected the holy book. If we are dera followers, it doesn’t mean that we don’t respect the Guru Granth Sahib,” he added.
On June 1, 2015, a ‘bir’ of Guru Granth Sahib was stolen from the gurdwara at Burj Jawahar Singh Wala in Faridkot district. On October 12, 2015, the torn pages of this ‘bir’ were found scattered in front of a gurdwara in the adjoining village, Bargari. In June 2016, there were massive protests after an unidentified man gunned down a Gurdev Singh, a dera follower, at his grocery shop at Burj Jawahar Singh Wala village of Faridkot.
First Published: Jun 10, 2018 10:05 IST