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How Gurmeet Ram Rahim Escaped in Salabatpura Case? Role of Punjab Police & State Government

July 8, 2020 | By

A Special Investigation Team (SIT), led by DIG Ranbir Singh Khatra, recently said that it was in the knowledge of Dera Sauda Sirsa (DSS) hierarchy that dera followers were involved in beadbi of Guru Granth Sahib at Buraj Jawahar Singh Wala, Bargari, Gurusar Jalal and Malke villages in 2015.

SIT chief Ranbir Singh Khatra addressing media persons on July 6

Gurmeet Ram Rahim Named in Burj Jawahar Singh Wala Case:

Ranbir Singh Khatra said that the SIT has named DSS chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim in Buraj Jawahar Singh Wala case.

Notably, dera head is undergoing imprisonment at Rohtak jail Sunarian in Haryana after his conviction by a CBI court in two rape cases.

Dera Sirsa Head – Gurmeet Ram Rahim [ File Photo ]

Not the First Case by Punjab Police in which Dera Head is Named:

It is pertinent to mention here that Burj Jawahar Singh Wala case is not the first case in which DSS chief is named by the Punjab police. He was earlier named by the state police in 2007 ‘Salabatpura case’.

Salabatpura Case Connection:

In his address to media person on 6 July 2020, SIT chief Ranbir Singh Khatra himself pointed that the beadbi cases were part of series of event that had began with Gurmeet Ram Rahim’s 2007 activity at Salabatpura based dera.

Salabatpura Case:

During a function held at Salabatpura (Bathinda) based branch of Dera Sauda Sirsa in 2007, Gurmeet Ram Rahim had personified himself as tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh Ji.

He had tried to copy-act historic event of Khalsa Sajna.

Outrage Against Gurmeet Ram Rahim’s Activities:

As personification of Sikh Gurus is strictly prohibited in Sikhi, dera head’s activities had outraged the global Sikh Sangat and there were wide-spread protests against him and his dera.

There were huge Sikh protest against Dera Sauda Sirsa [File Photo]

Complaint Registered Against Gurmeet Ram Rahim:

As protests against Gurmeet Ram Rahim’s blasphemous act grew stronger, under directions from Punjab government led by Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) leaders Parkash Singh Badal and his son Sukhbir Singh Badal, the Punjab police registered the complaint of Rajinder Singh Sidhu against Gurmeet Ram Rahim.

FIR Details:

On the basis of Rajinder Singh Sidhu’s complaint a case against Dera Sauda Sirsa (DSS) chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim at Police station Kotwali (Bathinda) under FIR number 262, dated 20th of May, 2007 under section 295-A, 298 and 153-A of Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Police Made No Progress in Investigation:

As the government was not interested in proceeding against Dera Sauda Sirsa (DSS) chief in this case, there was was no significant progress in the investigation.

Instead of Arresting Dera Chief, Police Sough his Permissions to Meet & Question him:

Surprisingly, the Punjab police had sought permissions of the accused dera head to meet and question him.

Complainant ‘Made To’ Retract:

Rajinder Singh Sidhu, who was initial complainant in this case was made to retract from him complaint. Notably, he was a local leader of the then ruling party Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal).

Police Filed Closure Report:

After few years of registration of the case, the Punjab police field a closure report maintaining that it did not get any information or evidence about the Salabatpura incident.

Sikh Lawyer, another Joined the Case as Co-complainants:

Meanwhile, in 2011 a Sikh lawyer, Jaspal Singh Manjhpur and a political activist Baba Hardeep Singh Mehraj, moved the court and were successful in getting themselves listed as co-complainants in this case.

They insisted on pursuing the case despite police’s closure report. They successfully convinced the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) that there was sufficient evidence against Gurmeet Ram Rahim in this case.

Lower Court Decides to Proceed:

Because of efforts of Advocate Jaspal Singh Manjhpur and his co-complainant the case survived for few more years and the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) Raman Kumar issued summons against Dera Sauda chief.

Complainant Rajinder Singh along with complainant Baba Hardeep Singh Mehraj and others outside Bathinda (February 03, 2012) [File Photo]

But CJM Raman Kumar’s order was challenged by Dera Sauda head in higher court.

Sessions Judge Dismissed the Case:

The court of a District Sessions Judge Tejwinder Singh on 7 August 2014 dismissed the Salabatpura case against Gurmeet Ram Rahim.

The Court accepted the closure report of Punjab police that was initially rejected by the CJM’s court.

What Caused Dismissal?:

The shallow investigations by the Punjab police were prime reason for dismissal.

The Punjab police snubbed the case to serve Punjab government’s political interests, as it was believed that such concessions might convince Dera management to extend support to SAD (Badal) in various elections.

Case Left Behind the Punjab Government, But Sikh Lawyer Still Pursuing It:

Talking about present status of the case, Advocate Jaspal Singh Manjhpur told Sikh Siyasat News (SSN) that Salabatpura case was left behind by the Punjab police and the Punjab government after dismissal by the Sessions Court. “But”, he added, “we had challenged the Sessions Court’s decision in the Punjab and Haryana High Court”.

Advocate Jaspal Singh Manjhpur [File Photo]

“We have field an appeal in the HC challenging Sessions court’s dismissal order and the case is pending before the high court awaiting hearing”, he added.

Advocate Jaspal Singh Manjhpur said that Advocate Navkiran Singh is following the case as their counsel in the High Court.

Naming Not Enough:

The experience of Salabatpura case shows that naming of Dera Sauda Sirsa (DSS) is not enough and much would depend on police investigations and the political will of the present Punjab government.

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