Day after clash, tenuous peace at Faridkot village

Faridkot, Punjab: Dhudike village that saw a clash between Dera Sacha Sauda followers and members of a Sikh group yesterday, remained tense today even as police and civil administration officials flocked to the village to ensure that peace was not broken.

A heavy police contingent have been deployed at all entry and exit points. “The riot police, commandos and CRPF battalions from neighbouring districts have been deployed in the village. More police force will be summoned if need be,” said Kamaljit Singh Dhillon, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Moga.

These measures notwithstanding, the police and civil administration is under strain as the situation remains volatile. The police have booked 80 persons for attempt to murder and outraging the religious feelings of dera followers. But the latter are demanding that the accused be arrrested forthwith failing which they have threatened to hold a statewide agitation.

Apprehending arrest, a large number of youths and elders have fled the village following an FIR on the complaint of dera followers, said Jasdeep Singh Gehri, sarpanch of Dhudike village. Gehri is one of those named in the FIR. At least 15 families of dera followers are also living in fear in anticipation of a backlash. In the neighbouring villages of Saidoke, Chuhar Chak, Ajitwal and Buttar, the dera followers have a considerable presence. So the police have stepped up vigilance in these villages.

A seven-member delegation of dera followers today met the SSP and gave the police a 24-hour ultimatum to arrest the accused. “Dera followers have started gathering in Moga and will take to the streets if the police show reluctance in taking action against the accused, some of them being Akali leaders,” said Gurmail Singh, dera block president.

The SSP said the police had lodged two FIRs. In the first FIR, more than 60 accused persons were yet to be identified and in the second, all accused, including a sitting and a former panchayat member had been named.

Jagtar Singh Dhaliwal, Zila Parishad member, also an accused in one of the FIRs, claimed he had been falsely implicated.

Source: The Tribune

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