Uneasy calm in Dabwali after Dera-Sikh clashes

July 19th, 2008 - 1:49 pm ICT by ANI  

Sirsa, July 19 (ANI): Uneasy calm prevailed in Haryana’’s Sirsa district and parts of Punjab today, even as curfew remained clamped in Dabwali town following clashes between Dera Sacha Sauda followers and Sikhs.
Haryana Armed Police (HAP) troops, Rapid Action Force (RAF) and paramilitary force conducted flag marches in Dabwali town and Sirsa’’s satellite towns Ratia, Ellanabad and Kalianwala.
The warring factions the Dera Sacha Sauda, Sikh organisations, including the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the Shiromani Gurudwara Parbhandhak Committtee (SGPC), have appealed to the people to maintain peace and communal harmony.
In Punjab, the situation in Bathinda, Muktsar, Moga and Malout districts was tense, but under control.
SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal is expected to reach Dabwali later today, party sources said.
On Friday, the clash broke out after an altercation over the issue of morning prayers being conducted by Dera members in Dabwali, claiming the life of Mahender Singh, hailing from the Sikh community.
Sikhs went on a rampage in Sirsa, vandalizing property and burning vehicles. Police reinforcements were rushed to the spot to control the situation and the state was put on high alert.
Sikhs have been up in arms against the Dera Sacha Sauda Chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh for almost a year now.
Dera chief sparked a huge uproar by the Sikhs a few months ago when Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh allegedly tried to imitate the dress and activities of the last Sikh guru — Guru Gobind Singh.
The move had enraged the Sikh community and he was forced to apologize.
Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh later tendered an apology, saying he had no intention of hurting the sentiments of the Sikhs, but the Sikh clerics had rejected his apology. (ANI)

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