Chandigarh: Though the occurrence of Sarbat Khalsa, a congregation of hardline Sikh leaders, which is scheduled for November 10, is yet uncertain, a sense of terror can be felt in and around Talwandi Sabo.
The holy town that is known for the location of Takht Damdama Sahib is now barricaded from all sides. Heavy deployment of police that has mandate to check each and every vehicle before letting it cross instil a feeling of uneasy calm in the area.
The arrival of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in the area on Monday added nervousness among the already bothered residents of Talwandi Sabo.
Punjab Police, in an alleged attempt to check the event taking place, have already running a state wide crackdown operation to detain all prominent activists of Sarbat Khalsa under which acting Jathedar of Akal Takht (an appointee of previous Sarbat Khalsa) Dhian Singh Mand has also been rounded up.
Reports collected from different parts of the state suggest the detention of more than 500 people who were otherwise supposed to play active role in organising the event at Talwandi Sabo in past three days.
Simranjit Singh Mann, president of SAD (Amritsar), on Monday filed a petition urging the Punjab and Haryana High Court to issue directions to the Punjab Police not to arrest SAD (Amritsar) leaders, workers and organisers of the Sarbat Khalsa without following the proper process of the law.
During the course of hearing, Mann alleged in the petition that raids were being conducted by the police and his party workers and leaders are being arrested. The petitioner’s counsel informed the court that more than 150 party activists have been arrested till now.
However, the Bench headed by Justice Jitendra Chauhan directed the SAD (Amritsar) president to make available details of the arrested party activists by the police. The case would now come up for hearing on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, another petition filed by the Mann seeking permission to hold Sarbat Khalsa came up for consideration before the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Monday but after hearing the submissions made by the petitioner’s counsel, the bench headed by Justice R K Jain adjourned the case to Tuesday. The court observed that the petition was very sketchy and asked the petitioner’s counsel on what grounds and provisions the court should give directions to the state of Punjab to grant permission for holding Sarbat Khalsa. The court directed the petitioner’s counsel to submit the grounds and provisions in this regard and adjourned the matter till Tuesday.
Mann had filed the petition seeking issuance of directions to senior Civil and Police officials and also the state of Punjab for granting permission to hold Sarbat Khalsa on November 10 on a piece of land owned by Harpal Singh son of Charanpal Singh of Talwandi Sabo, Bathinda.
The chunk of land was reportedly offered voluntarily to the organisers for the event as the district administration and SGPC had denied giving space for the event. The organisers had started pitching in pandal on the said land but a day back it was reportedly stopped on the directions of the administration, for the organisers not having valid permission for the same.
Though the hardliners are adamant to hold the event, they opted not to come in direct conflict with the police and decided to wait for the fate of the petition filed by Mann. Earlier in the day, the tent provider was asked to uproot the pillars and take the things back but the job was again put on hold by the evening. The organisers are now hoping to see the HC verdict coming in their favour on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, a section of the Sarbat Khalsa organisers has also mooted an idea to shift the venue from Talwandi Sabo to Dadu village in Haryana, which is the headquarters of radical Sikh preacher Baljit Singh Daduwal, who was appointed Jathedar of Takht Damadama Sahib during Sarbat Khalsa held in Chabba village of Amritsar last year but the majority is unwilling to go by the idea stating that they would put their best to ensure it taking place at the venue already announced.
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