OVER 180 persons have been arrested in over 50 FIRs filed across districts of Bathinda and Patiala zone in cases related to the violence that followed the conviction of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh. The police, however, added that more arrests were likely as a few persons were absconding. Some government employees, who were dera followers, are also among those arrested persons.
Mukhwinder Singh Chhina, IG (Bathinda zone), said, “However, we have not yet determined how many of those arrested are government employees. They were not from the police department.” Bathinda zone comprises Bathinda, Muktsar, Mansa, Fazilka, Ferozepur and Moga districts. Patiala zone consists of Sangrur, Barnala and Patiala , Rupnagar, Fatehgarh Sahib and Mohali districts. More arrests are also likely in Patiala zone, 127 persons have been named in a total of 21 FIRs while 58 arrests were made till date, said A S Rai, IG (Patiala zone).
Also, two Punjab police ASIs who were part of the security detail of Gurmeet Ram Rahim in Sirsa were suspended after they were found to be Dera supporters. IG Chhina said, “One of them, Rohit, is from Bathinda. He was part of the dera head’s security detail for the past two years.” The second policeman is from Patiala.
Meanwhile, eight persons were nabbed Friday by Faridkot and Muktsar police in connection with incidents of violence on August 25. Dr Nanak Singh, SSP, Faridkot, said dera followers, identified as Sandeep Kumar, Baljinder Singh, Kuldeep Singh, Sonu, Gurtej Singh and Jasvir Singh were while 15 others are on the run. They had attempted to set a petrol pump in Faridkot on fire and had thrown petrol bombs on a petrol pump in Faridkot.
CCTV footage revealed their identity, police said. Eight persons were also arrested by Muktsar police in connection with the violence.