Tension prevails in Dabwali (Update-Dabwali-protest)

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Sirsa, July 18 : Situation remained tense and a curfew was imposed in Dabwali town of Sirsa District, as the Sikh community continued its protest over the death of a member of Sikh community after a clash with the supporters of controversial Dera Sacha Sauda on Friday.

The clash broke out after an altercation over the issue of morning prayers being conducted by Dera members in Dabwali, claiming the life of Mahender Singh, hailing from the Sikh community.

Sikhs went on a rampage in Sirsa, vandalizing property and burning vehicles. Police reinforcements were rushed to the spot to control the situation and the state was put on high alert.

The police fired water canon on the protesters to disperse the angry mob.

Meanwhile, in Chandigarh, members of various Sikh bodies went on a sit on protest, demanding the arrest of Dera members involved in the incident and also their chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.

Members of Sant Samaj, motley of various Sikh bodies, sat in the middle of the road, chanting religious hymns and voicing their demand.

"We have been repeatedly demanding the arrest of Dera Sacha chief who is disturbing the peace of the state and the nation. But, no action has been taken so far. And today's incident is a result of that only. Not even a month has passed after the murder of Sardar Balkar Singh, (that) Sardar Mahender Singh was stoned to death by the Dera followers," said Harnam Singh Khalsa, Chief, Damdami Taksal, a Sikh body.

Punjab Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal said: "I can only appeal to the people to maintain peace... The perpetrators behind the incident should be caught and dealt with strictly."

Sikhs have been up in arms against the Dera Sacha Sauda Chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh for almost a year now.

Dera chief sparked a huge uproar by the Sikhs a few months ago when Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh allegedly tried to imitate the dress and activities of the last Sikh guru -- Guru Gobind Singh.

The move had enraged the Sikh community and he was forced to apologize.

Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh later tendered an apology, saying he had no intention of hurting the sentiments of the Sikhs, but the Sikh clerics had rejected his apology.

ANI

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