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Dera Sacha Sauda blamed in the final SIT report on 2015 sacrilege cases

The final investigation report of the Punjab Police on the 2015 desecration cases has pinned blame on Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda.

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Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Saturday handed over the 467-page report of the special investigation team of the Punjab Police to Sikh leaders, including Chamkaur Singh and Major Singh Pandori here, said officials. The SIT led by Inspector General of Police SPS Parmar investigated the incidents and submit the report to the state DGP on April 21.

The incidents related to the theft of a ‘bir’ (copy) of the Guru Granth Sahib, putting up handwritten sacrilegious posters and torn pages of the holy book found scattered at Bargari had taken place in Faridkot in 2015.

These incidents had led to protests in Faridkot. In the police firing at protesters in October 2015, two persons were killed in Behbal Kalan while some people were injured at Kotkapura in Faridkot.

According to the report, Dera chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim has been named in three desecration incidents.

As per the report, the motive behind the three cases “is having a direct link with the Dera Sacha Sauda and the accused persons who are involved in these cases are followers of the said dera.”

“It is evident from material/evidence collected by the SIT of the Punjab Police that the accused were having direct nexus with the management of the dera. The motive behind the incidents was also having a link with the movie ‘MSG-2’,” it said.

Followers of the Dera Sacha Sauda were upset over the non-release of Ram Rahim starrer Messenger of God (MSG-2) movie.

The other accused in these three cases are Sukhjinder Singh, alias Sunny, Shakti Singh, Baljit Singh, Randeep Singh, alias Neela, Ranjit Singh, alias Bhola, Nishan Singh, Narinder Sharma and Pardeep Singh.

The three other accused–Harsh Dhuri, Pardeep Kler and Sandeep Bareta–are yet to be arrested.

They have been declared proclaimed offenders.

Dera Sacha Sauda follower Mohinder Pal Bittu, who was a key accused in the cases, was killed in a Nabha prison by two inmates in 2019.

The SIT had even questioned Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in the Sunaria jail of Haryana’s Rohtak in connection with the incidents.

However, the report said Ram Rahim remained “non-cooperative” during the course of investigation by the SIT. The three cases of sacrilege are under trial at a Faridkot court and the next date for the framing of charges against the accused is July 29.

Last year, the CBI on the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court had handed over the documents and files related to the 2015 incidents to the Punjab Police SIT.

In 2015, the then SAD-BJP government had handed over the three cases to the CBI for probe.

The Punjab government had handed over the probe to an SIT of the state police in September 2018 after the state Assembly passed a resolution withdrawing consent to the CBI to investigate these cases, noting lack of progress in the investigation.

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