Indian Spokesman Correspondent
CHANDIGARH: On the orders of Punjab government to scuttle the holding of ‘Sarbat Khalsa’ at Talwandi Sabo on November 10, the police raided the hardliner Sikhs and took around 1500 of them in preventive custody.
Among others, Dhian Singh Mand, who was appointed acting “Jathedar” of Akal Takht at the last ‘Sarbat Khalsa’, was also arrested from Ferozepur.
However, some prominent Sikh leaders, including Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) chief Simranjit Singh Mann, Baljit Singh Daduwal and main organiser of the event Gurdip Singh Bathinda, managed to give police the slip; they have gone into hiding.
Gopal Singh Sidhu, SAD (Amritsar) general secretary and spokesperson, told The Tribune that 1,561 persons had been detained or arrested since midnight. “Almost all office-bearers of our party, apart from other supporting groups, have been put in jail,” he said.
Hardeep Singh Dhillon, DGP (Law and Order), said the number of preventive arrests was 190 till today evening. “The arrests were made to thwart any attempt of breach of peace, as the government has not given permission to organise Sarbat Khalsa.”
A government spokesperson said, “Last year, they (‘Sarbat Khalsa’ organisers) were given permission. But what was the fall out? They indulged in seditious activities. The government has denied permission this time because of the past year’s experience.”
Another reason for denying permission, he said, was that the SAD (Amritsar) claimed to the organiser of the event. “How can a political party organise the ‘Sarbat Khalsa’? It is the Sikh Sangat that calls the ‘Sarbat Khalsa’.”
Meanwhile, the government removed tents and other structures at the 63-acre venue for the congregation. The ‘Sarbat Khalsa’ is scheduled at a private land near Talwandi Sabo.