July 6, 2020 11:21:10 pm
The head of Dera Sacha Sauda, Gurmeet Ram Rahim, was on Monday named in a five-year-old FIR over June, 2015 theft of the holy ‘bir’of Guru Granth Sahib from the gurdwara of Burj Jawahar Singhwala village in Faridkot district. The Dera head was nominated in the FIR by the SIT led by DIG Ranbir Singh Khattra, which started probing the case in February this year.
Apart from the Sirsa Dera head, three national committee members of Dera Sacha Sauda — Harsh Dhuri, Sandeep Bareta and Pardeep Kaler — have also been nominated in the same FIR. The SIT on Monday also filed a challan in the case of ‘bir’ theft before the Faridkot district court.
With four new names, there are total 11 Dera followers in the FIR. All have charges of criminal conspiracy and hurting religious sentiments against them.
“We have sought arrest warrants for the three national committee members from court, while for interrogating the Dera head, we will be following a separate procedure as he is currently lodged at Rohtak’s Sunaria jail,” Khattra said, adding: “We had conducted raids at several places on Sunday to arrest the three national committee members of Dera Sirsa, but they were absconding. We have now sought arrest warrants against the three from the court.” The Faridkot court will hear the SIT plea seeking these arrest warrants on July 8.
The SIT led by DIG Khattra has been investigating three cases related to the sacrilege incidents – the theft of ‘bir’ from Gurdwara Burj Jawahar Singh Wala on June1, 2015; the pasting of provocative posters on the walls of Bargari village on September 25, 2015, and sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib in the streets of Bargari on October 12, 2015.
Khattra said, “In the challan submitted in court, we have nominated 11 Dera followers in our FIR (over the ‘bir’ theft). Out of them, seven were arrested on Saturday, out of which two had to be released as they had got bail from CBI in the same case. Four others have been nominated today. Meanwhile, the two — Shakti Singh and Sukhjinder Singh Sunny — who were released on bail have been cooperating with the probe.”
Talking about the role of Dera head Gurmeet Ram Rahim, he said, “All three incidents happened in consultation with the Dera head and he was the main man behind this entire conspiracy, this is what has come out in our investigation. We are yet to interrogate him in this case as he is already in jail.”
About the investigation in the case, the DIG added that the five who were arrested on Sunday were taken to crime scene in Faridkot villages and they revealed that after stealing the ‘bir’ from Burj Jawahar Singh Wala, they had kept it at Sikhwala village till October 12, and later it was allegedly torn and in the streets of Bargari.
Meanwhile these five accused — Randeep Singh, Ranjeet Singh, Narinder Kumar Sharma, Baljit Singh and Nishan Singh — were produced in the court of duty magistrate Chetan Sharma and all were sent in judicial remand till July 20.
The DIG said that differences between Sikhs and Dera followers, also called ‘premis’, had started in 2007 when Dera head was booked in an alleged blasphemy case. After that a number of violent incidents had happened between the two groups.
In February, 2015 when MSG-1 was to be released, it was not allowed to release in Punjab due to protest by Sikh organisations. Later, ahead of MSG-2 release in September 2015, the tensions had again flared up between the two sides.
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