Controversial sect leader gets 3 years jail

Ambala (Haryana): Punjab-based controversial sect leader Piara Singh Bhaniarewala was today sentenced to three years imprisonment by a court in this Haryana town following his conviction in a case pertaining to desecration of Sikh holy book, the Granth Sahib.

Seven other associates of the sect leader were also sentenced to three years imprisonment by the court of the chief judicial magistrate here. The godman, who was present in the court here, was allowed to be released on bail by the court.

Bhaniarewala was, last week, convicted by the court along with his followers for desecrating (by burning) and tearing off the holy book. The incident took place September 2001 and a case was registered by the Punjab Police in Morinda.

The cases against Bhaniarewala and others were transferred out of Punjab (to Haryana) following a request to the court by him. The sect leader faces threats from Sikh hardliners for his acts. He has been attacked at least twice in recent years.

He enjoys Z-category security from the state government at his sect headquarters in Nurpur Bedi area of Ropar district, 60 km from Chandigarh. He has police and para-military security around him at all times.

A controversial leader, Bhaniarewala has been accused of showing disrespect to Sikh religion and its ideology.

-IANS

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