Dera chief returns to Sirsa commune amid tight security

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Chandigarh, Jun 23 (UNI) Even as protests continued in Punjab over the killing of a member of the Sikh community by the security guard of Dera Sachcha Sauda chief Gurmit Ram Rahim Singh in Mumbai, the controversial religious leader today returned to his commune at Sirsa in Haryana amid tight security.

Ram Rahim, who was reportedly taken by the Karnataka Police to an ''undisclosed and safe destination'' in Mysore on his way back from Mumbai yesterday, flew back to his Dera (commune) in a helicopter this afternoon.

His sudden return to the Dera was kept a hush-hush affair by the local administration, which called in two companies of the Rapid Action Force (RAF) to tighten the security around the commune and in the city. One company of the Border Security Force (BSF) and two companies of the Haryana Armed Police were already deployed in Sirsa.

In Punjab, activists of various Sikh organisations today took out protest marches at various places, demanding arrest of the Dera Chief. The protests passed off peacefully and no report of any untoward incident was received from anywhere in the state.

In Moga, more than 250 activists took out a procession from Gurdwara Singh Sabha. All shops and commercial establishments in the district remained closed in response to a call given by various Sikh organisations.

In Sangrur's Dhirba town, some Sikh protestors burnt the copies of a daily paper, 'Sach Kahu', published by Dera Sachcha Sauda.

Brandishing swords, more than 100 activists took out a protest march and submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner in Kapurthala, demanding arrest of the Dera Chief.

A high-level Sikh delegation, led by Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal, will rush to Mumbai tomorrow to meet the members of the family of Balkar Singh who was killed in the firing by the Dera chief's security gurad in Mumbai on Friday.

The delegation would call on Maharastra Chief Minister Vilas Rao Deshmukh to urge him to take the ''strictest possible'' action against those responsible for the incident. It would also impress upon Mr Deshmukh to take immediate administrative measures to safeguard the life and property of the minority Sikh community there.

The delegation would also meet the injured people of the unfortunate incident and their family members.

Meanwhile, the SAD and its alliance partner the BJP at their Coordination Committee meeting, presided over by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, expressed profound grief and sorrow over the tragic and barbaric killing of Balkar Singh and demanded strict action against those involved in the incident.

The two parties appealed to all sections of society to maintain peace, communal harmony and amity at all costs. The SAD-BJP government reiterated its firm commitment to maintain peace in the state under all circumstances.

''No one will be allowed to disturb the hard earned atmosphere of peace, Punjabi unity and communal harmony in the state,'' the coordination committee declared in a joint statement issued later.

The SAD also urged all the countrymen, including the Sikhs, to maintain an ''atmosphere of peace, communal harmony and amity at all costs as preached by the Sikh Gurus''.

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