Sikhs protest against firing by security guard of Ram Rahim Singh

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Chandigarh, Jun 21 (UNI) Thousands of activists of various Sikh organisations today staged dharna and blocked vehicular traffic at various places in Punjab and Haryana, protesting against the killing of a Sikh protestor in firing by the security guard of Dera Sachcha Sauda Chief Gurmit Ram Rahim Singh in Mumbai yesterday.

Brandishing swords at some places, the sikh protestors also took out processions and burnt the effigies of Gurmit Ram Rahim Singh, demanding his immediate arrest and withdrawl of 'Z' security provided to him.

They also demanded that those responsible for the firing incident in Mumbai may be booked. They submitted memoranda to the administration at respective places, demanding adequate compensation to the kin of the deceased in firing.

The spontaneous protests by Sikhs passed off peacefully and no report of any untoward incident was received from anywhere in the region, official sources said.

In Haryana's Sirsa district, where the headquarters of Dera Sachcha Sauda is situated, Sikh protesters blocked the Delhi-Fazilka highway (NH-10) near Sahuwala village in Dabwali sub-division of the district. However, they removed the blockade later after the authorities persuaded them.

Adequate police force has been deployed in Sirsa town and security strengthened at the headquarters of Dera Sachcha Sauda here. Night patrolling and vigil has been stepped up around the Dera headquarters with two companies of Haryana armed police already reaching the town.

The situation was described as tense but under control in Sirsa town. A peace committee meeting, presided over by the Deputy Commissioner, has appealed to people to maintain peace.

Baba Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, who was scheduled to reach the Dera today from Mumbai, has not arrived so far.

In Punjab, where the killing of the Sikh protestor evoked sharp reaction, Sikhs youths, displaying swords, held dharna and squatted on the railway track at Rampura Phul Railway crossing in Bhatinda district. As a result, a passenger train running between Bhatinda and Ambala was delayed by an hour. They also blocked the Bhatinda-Chandigarh road.

Reports of protests were also received from Jalandhar, Patiala, Hoshiarpur, Ludhiana and Amritsar.

A five-member delegation of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee will be leaving for Mumbai shortly to take stock of the situation and meet the relatives of the deceased and those injured in the firing. Another delegation will be meeting Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil, SGPC President Avtar Singh Makkar told reporters in Ludhiana.

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