REFUSING TO cremate the bodies of the father and son shot dead at the canteen of Naam Charcha Ghar of Dera Sacha Sauda in Jaghera village of Payal subdivision late on Saturday, the Dera followers (who call themselves premis) protested against police by blocking Ludhiana-Malerkotla state highway on Sunday. The Dera followers, lying on the road, dared the police to remove them and vowed “revenge” if police failed to crack the case. Tension continued to prevail at the Dera as the bodies of Satpal Sharma (65) and his son Ramesh (35) were kept there for darshan. The followers kept thronging the Dera from nearby districts as well as Haryana to pay tribute to the deceased.
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Following some provocative speeches by some Dera leaders, the followers got up and moved outside to block the highway. They also shouted slogans like ‘Police Murdabad’ and ‘Sacha Sauda di soch tey, pehra deyange thok ke’. “They were martyrs, who laid down their lives for the respect and pride of the Dera. We vow to take revenge for each drop of blood that our brothers sacrificed for the pride of Dera Sacha Sauda. We hail our martyrs. If police fail to crack the case, we vow to take revenge. We will show the police what we can do. But first, we need to give them time for probe,” said leaders, speaking where the two bodies were kept.
Later, a group raised slogans and blocking the highway for about one hour. Some followers also lay down and dared police to stop them from blocking the highway. Demanding the arrest of the culprits, the Dera followers refused to cremate the bodies till the filing of this report. Heavy police force continued to be deployed on the entire Ludhiana-Malerkotla highway. Meanwhile, Mahesh Sharma, the second son of Satpal Sharma, said his father and brother had enmity with no one. Not in a condition to speak, he kept muttering, “Mere baap-bhai ki kisi se koi dushmani nahi thi. Hamare saath dhakka huya hai. (My father-brother had no enemies. Injustice has been done to us).”
He added that “whatever decision will be taken by the Dera authorities for cremation, family will accept it”. “We will accept what the Dera authorities will order us to,” said Mahesh. Seema, the daughter of Satpal Sharma, also kept weeping inconsolably and shouting that “killers of her father and brother be handed over to her”. “Bring them here and we will tell how justice is done,” she said sitting beside the bodies of her father and brother. Satpal Sharma is survived by wife Kamlesh Sharma. His son Ramesh is survived by wife Madhu and 8-year-old daughter Diya. The family has been following Dera Sacha Saudha for almost four decades now, said Onkar Joshi, cousin of Ramesh.
Ramesh was a small trader in leather goods while Satpal worked as an accountant at a brick kiln. They used to perform sewa at the Dera canteen on some days. The family resides in nearby Mandi Ahmedgarh town and market unions there also kept shops shut as homage to the deceased.