Chandigarh: The simmering tension over Dera Sacha Sauda’s support to Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) in Punjab Vidhan Sabha elections on Sunday took an ugly turn when activists of different Sikh organisations and ‘Dera’ followers’ indulged in a clashed over ‘naam charcha’ in Makhu near Ferozepur.
According to reports, the Sikhs activists, in an attempt to disrupt the ‘naam charcha’, barged into the premises of the Dera’s religious place in Makhu. On this, the Dera followers also countered, thus leading to a clash.
This all occurred despite heavy police force being deployed by the administration to prevent any untoward incident at the site, sources informed.
Some persons also sustained injuries in the clash. Taking preventive measures, the administration has deployed additional police force at the site.
There was shouting of slogans by Sikh activists and Dera followers. The police had to use light force to disperse off the Sikh organisations’ members from the Dera premises.
According to Baba Dilbagh Singh, a leader of a Sikh organisation, the Akal Takht has issued a ‘hukamnama’ against the Dera head but SAD (Badal) had virtually challenged the sense of honour of the Sikhs. He warned that the Dera followers would not be allowed to hold ‘naam charcha’ at any place under the influence of Shiromani Akali Dal. Raj Kumar, a member of Green ‘S’ Welfare Force, condemned the clash with the Dera followers.
To seek votes, leaders of all Punjab political leaders including SAD, Congress and AAP had been visiting the Dera. They sought support of the Dera head for influencing voters in mass one way or the other because of its influence in more than 56 assembly constituencies.
A day after Dera Sacha Sauda of Sirsa announced its support for SAD-BJP candidates in Punjab, nine Akali leaders had directed the sect followers to hold satsang (congregation) in their respective constituencies. However, taking serious note of seeking support from Dera, various Sikh leaders and organisations had asked the Akal Takht Jathedar to take action against such Akali leaders.
In the past also, there have been confrontations between Dera premises and the Sikh organisations over holding of ‘naam charchas’, satsangs and congregations.
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