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Dera followers’ murder: ‘Premis’ refuse to cremate bodies, block traffic in Jagera

Dera Sacha Sauda followers on Sunday refused to cremate bodies of Satpal Kumar, 65, and his son Ramesh Kumar, 35, who were gunned down by motorcycle-borne assailants at the Sirsa-headquartered sect’s congregation centre in Jagera village near Malaudh, 40 km from Khanna, on Saturday evening.

punjab Updated: Feb 27, 2017 10:20 IST
Tarsem Singh Deogan
Tarsem Singh Deogan
Hindustan Times, Jagera (Khanna)
Dera Sacha Sauda,Dera followers murder,Gurmit Ram Rahim Singh
Dera Sacha Sauda followers block traffic on the Malerkotla road outside the congregation centre on Sunday. (JS Grewal / Hindustan Times)

Dera Sacha Sauda followers on Sunday refused to cremate bodies of Satpal Kumar, 65, and his son Ramesh Kumar, 35, who were gunned down by motorcycle-borne assailants at the Sirsa-headquartered sect’s congregation centre in Jagera village near Malaudh, 40 km from Khanna, on Saturday evening.

Bodies of the father-son duo, who belonged to the nearby town of Ahmedgarh, have been preserved in freezers at the centre (‘naam charcha ghar’), after post-mortem examination conducted at Lord Mahavira Civil Hospital in Ludhiana.

Heavy police force has been deployed in the village and surrounding areas owing to mounting tension. The district administration and police officers are in talks with the dera committee to agree upon the compensation amount for the family of the deceased.

Also Read | Two Dera Sacha Sauda followers shot dead in Khanna village, cops suspect Sikh radicals

With around 500 followers of the dera, including women, present at the congregation centre, cops have sealed the canteen where the duo was gunned down.

Followers divided over further action

The dera followers, meanwhile, are divided on the issue of further course of action. While one of the groups has been awaiting instructions from headquarters in Sirsa, another group wants “instant action”, warning to avenge the killings on their own if cops fail to arrest the assailants. Around 200 members of this group blocked traffic on the Malerkotla road outside the congregation centre for 20 minutes, giving no heed to the other faction’s appeal of maintaining peace.

When tributes were being paid to the deceased at the centre, some dera followers lost their temper and shouted slogans against the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD). Other followers had to intervene and ask them to refrain from blaming any political party.

Calling the victims “martyrs”, Sarvan Kumar, member of the Dera Sacha Sauda state political committee, told the followers that they are preparing a strategy, after which “no one will dare to touch any dera ‘premi’”. He said a meeting of the dera’s national committee, under its head Gurmit Ram Rahim Singh, is on to take a decision on the further course of action and cremation of the bodies.

First Published: Feb 26, 2017 21:52 IST