The protest against the murder of Manohar Lal, a prominent member of Dera Sacha Sauda and father of sacrilege accused, Jatinder Pal alias Jimmy, at village Bhagta Bhaika in Bathinda entered the third day on Monday. The supporters have refused to cremate the body and are continuing the dharna, keeping the corpse in a deep freezer in the middle of the road.
The Facebook account of Sukha Gill Lamme gang, which took responsibility for the murder in a post, has since been deleted. The gang had claimed to have eliminated Jatinder Pal for four incidents of sacrilege.
“Let those who are holding a dharna in Salabatpura also tell what great deed he had done that they are holding dharma. He did not one but four sacrilege. We are not against dera followers or any religion. Our enemy is the one who is against the Sikh community and who disrespects our Guru. We will do the same with anyone who will do this. If Guru Sahib gives me another chance, I will do it again,” read the post.
Hundreds of Dera followers are converging at the Salabatpura-Bajakhana main road to demand arrest of the accused. The protesters have alleged that earlier murder of Dera Premi Mahinderpal Singh Bittu and now Manohar Lal is part of a conspiracy.
All attempts by the district police chief SSP Bhupinder Singh Virk to persuade the protesters to cremate the deceased have failed so far. Virk had held two meetings with the 45-member Dera committee on Sunday evening.
Salabatpura is the state headquarters of Dera Sacha Sauda. The Dera followers took the body from Bathinda Civil Hospital to the protest site on Saturday and blocked the Barnala-Bhagta main road. As per sources, the police have sought a list of weapons licenses issued to the Dera followers.
In August 2015, several incidents of violence were reported in the region immediately after the CBI court convicted Dera chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh. Manohar Lal was the father of 2015 sacrilege accused Jatinderbir Arora, alias Jimmy, or Jatinderbir Jimmy. Jimmy was arrested from Delhi airport in connection with a 2015 incident of sacrilege of the Guru Granth Sahib at Gurusar village near Bhagta Bhaika in Bathinda.
An FIR was registered at Baja Khana police station on June 2, 2015, as a ‘Bir’ of Guru Granth Sahib was allegedly stolen from a gurdwara at Burj Jawahar Singh Wala. Torn pages of the “bir” were found in Bargari On October 12. In the ensuing protests, two Sikh men had died in police firing at Behbal Kalan village on October 14. As many as 157 pages from the same ‘Bir’ were found scattered in the village on October 20, which were stolen from a gurdwara in Burj Jawahar Singh Wala village in Faridkot.