Protest march in Paonta in Himachal against Dera Sacha Sauda Chief

Over three thousand angry Sikhs took out a protest march in Paonta town to protest against Dera Sacha Sauda Chief Baba Ram Rahim who according to them dressed like tenth Guru Shri Govind Singh Ji and claimed to administer Amrit Sanchar. Protesters also burnt effigy of Dera chief in front of Paonta SDM office. Early at 9 A.M. more than three thousand Sikhs assembled at Badripur Chowk on the call given by various Sikh organizations and started protest march towards Paonta town. More and more people joined the march in the more than two kilometer walk. Angry protesters brandishing thousands of swords and other traditional weapons in the air, entered in the Paonta main bazaar.

Protesters were carrying effigy of Dera Chief and were raising slogans against Baba Ram Rahim and his followers. Effigy was burnt when protest march reached near SDM’s office. Angry protesters were demanding registration of a case and immediate arrest of Dera chief for his blasphemous act. They were shouting slogans and alleging that Dera Chief had hurt feelings of Sikhs and shown disrespect to Gurumat.
Protesters submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh through SDM Paonta and alleged that Dera Chief was a criminal person and there were several criminal cases against him and his followers, state government should expedite to mount pressure on the Union government and government of Punjab as well to arrest Dera Chief immediately. In the memorandum protesters had threatened ‘direct action’ if early solution of this controversy was not found and Dera Chief does not apologies for his act.

Protesters were so charged that at several moments their behavior seemed provocative but police managed the situation in a professional manner. Keeping in view the large number of protesters to reach in the march, Police had made elaborate security arrangements. However tension mounted in the town when some Sikh youths expressed their anguish by brandishing naked swords in the air on the running two wheelers. Police successfully controlled the situation when mounted tension poised a threat to the peace. All the shops in Paonta town, Badri Nagar, Devi Nagar and Bhoop Pur area remained closed. School authorities had declared holiday today keeping in view the spurt of violence in the neighboring states on this issue. For the whole day Paonta area remained tense but peaceful.

Working as district correspondent with The Tribune & Danik Tribune in Sirmour.

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