A DAY after the clash between followers of Dera Sacha Sauda and Sikh radicals at Mallanwala, Ferozepur police have booked Sikh preacher Baba Dilbagh Singh and 70 unidentified people. But no one has been arrested yet. Baba Dilbagh is connected to EkNoor Khalsa Fauj, a Sikh organisation led by Balwant Singh Nandgarh, former jathedar of Takht Damdama Sahib. Mallanwala is located in Zira constituency of Ferozepur district where the clash took place between Dera followers and Sikhs on Saturday because a Nam Charcha satsang had been scheduled in the house of Ram Asra, a Dera follower.
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On February 19, a clash had ensued between Dera followers and Sikhs in the Makhu area, about 12 kms from Mallanwala again over the issue of Nam Charcha Satsang in which 37 people were booked, including Baba Dilbagh. However, no action has been taken on the February 19 FIR till date. The clash took place over why the satsang was being organised at a location apart from Nam Charcha House of Dera. So, Satsang was organised at both places amid tight security, but after the clash.
Confirming the registration of FIR against Dilbagh and 70 others, Mallanwala SHO Harsandeep Singh, “Our force has been deployed as a precaution in the area. But, everything is peaceful and we have not arrested anyone yet. FIR has been filed on a complaint of Ram Asra.”
The FIR was filed under sections 295, 295A, 504, 427, 506, 148 and 149 IPC, which means hurting religious sentiments with an intention, criminal intimidation and unlawful assembly and riot charges. Similar were the charges in the February 19 FIR in Makhu.
Dilbagh Singh, Sikh preacher of Zira area who has been named in two FIRs, however, denied his involvement in both cases, claiming that the police had falsely implicated him.
Meanwhile, a Nam Charcha Satsang was organised at Ram Asra’s house in Mallanwala on Saturday due to which a heavy police bandobast was made. Despite the tight security, a few members of Sikh organisations who had gathered on the rooftop of the nearby gurdwara threw stones at the Dera followers and the latter retaliated by throwing red chilli powder in the eyes of a few protesters. However, an FIR was filed against the Sikhs and not against the Dera followers. The SHO said, “We have not received any complaint from the other side till date. We are on our job to arrest the people involved in this clash.”
The Dera followers, though, have been organising weekly satsangs only at Nam Charcha houses in various parts of the state. But, during the poll campaign, when SAD took the support of Dera, its candidates had announced that they would organise satsangs of Dera Sacha Sauda once again in various places of Punjab which had stopped after 2009.
Sources, however, revealed that the protesters have been asking Dera followers to continue their satsangs at Nam Charcha houses as usual instead of mohallas, villages and colonies.
Ferozepur SSP Gaurav Garg said, “We are investigating both the cases and will make arrests soon. However, religious programmes of Sacha Sauda followers were held at eight different places in Ferozepur today. Security was provided at all the places and all went off peacefully.”