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Dera followers go on rampage, 50 injured
May 15, 2007 20:57 IST
Followers of Dera Sacha Sauda on Tuesday fought pitched battles with police and damaged property in several towns of Punjab and clashed with Akalis in Rajasthan as they went on the rampage to protest an alleged insult to their chief.
At least 50 people, including over 20 policemen, were injured in violent protests in Bathinda and Sriganganagar in Rajasthan.
Supporters of Sikh groups also burnt effigies of Dera chief Baba Gurmeet Singh Ram Raheem at several places in Punjab and in Jammu and demanded his arrest.
Dera followers called off their protests after authorities in Punjab assured them action would be taken against those who burnt Raheem's effigy on Monday, sparking clashes between them and activists of Sikh groups.
In Bhatinda, 20 people, mostly policemen, were injured when Dera activists clashed with police who tried to disperse them.
Police fired in the air and carried out a baton-charge after the protesters attacked policemen.
The mob beat up fire brigade personnel and set on fire a police jeep. It also attacked the deputy commissioner's house and the circuit house where a meeting was in progress.
In Rajasthan, at least 30 people including four policemen were injured and 22 arrested in clashes between Akalis and Dera followers.
Prohibitory orders were clamped in Sriganganagar after 700 people from both sides clashed near the district collectorate.
The incidents came a day after 25 people were wounded in Bathinda in a clash between Dera followers and Shiromani Gurudwara Parbhandhak Committee activists over an advertisement in newspapers purportedly showing Raheem distributing 'amrit' (nectar) while attired in the dress of Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh guru.