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Two Killed in Clashes Between S.G.P.C., Satlani


The Tribune, Gurusar Satlani, Oct. 24, 2005

Photo: Gurpinder Singh Satlani

Photo: Gurdwara Gurusar Satlani

Panic gripped the border belt adjoining Gurdwara Gurusar Satlani here following armed clashes between a task force of the S.G.P.C. and followers of Baba Gurpinder Singh Satlani late last evening here leaving two persons dead and several injured, including Head Constable Kashmir Singh, in the cross-firing.

The trouble started four days after taking over possession of the gurdwara and other buildings by the S.G.P.C. on the basis of a directive issued by the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission (S.G.J.C.) on October 18.

The two persons who died in the cross-firing have been identified as Baldev Singh and Dara Singh, both followers of Baba Satlani. In a belated action, the police arrested Baba Satlani, along with 30 of his followers. Four S.G.P.C. employees, Sukhdev Singh, Rajpal Singh, Shavinder Singh and Gurminder Singh, were injured.

The police said no S.G.P.C. employee had been booked as they had fired in self-defence.

While Baba Satlani alleged that the task force of the S.G.P.C. had first attacked his men when they had entered the langar building on the basis of a stay order, purportedly given by the local Civil Court, Bibi Jagir Kaur, president, S.G.P.C., claimed that a 'crowd' (about 1,000 persons) led by Baba Satlani had attacked the 'peaceful' employees of the S.G.P.C. after sunset.

Bibi Jagir Kaur alleged that Baba Satlani had converted his residential building into a 'den' with funds collected from Sikh sangat [community] in the name of kar seva [service]. She, however, appreciated the S.G.P.C. employees who had 'protected' the historical gurdwara without bothering about their precious lives. She said the S.G.P.C. would honour these employees.

Meanwhile, Bibi Jagir Kaur spoke to the D.G.P., Mr. S.S. Virk, who assured her he would dispatch more police to ensure the safety and security of all.

Amid heavy security, Mr. Raghbir Singh, secretary, S.G.P.C., who was appointed receiver by the S.G.J.C., had taken over control of the historical gurdwara and agricultural land worth several crore (Hoshiar Nagar) in Amritsar district, on October 18. The taking-over operation was launched in wake of the huge chunk of agricultural land which was illegally leased for a song.

Though the S.G.P.C. had deputed about 200 employees, including its task force and Nihang Sikhs, to meet any eventuality, the entire operation was completed in eight hours smoothly. Since the followers of Baba Gurpinder Singh Satlani, caretaker of the historical gurdwara, initially tried to stop the S.G.J.C.'s receiver from taking over possession, yet he (Baba Gurpinder Singh) agreed to vacate the entire gurdwara complex on certain conditions. For this, the S.G.P.C. had also honoured Baba Satlani and his associates with siropas (robes of honour).