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1 killed in Dera-Sikh clash; Punjab on alert

July 18, 2008 10:02 IST
Last Updated: July 18, 2008 11:56 IST

One person was on Friday killed in a clash between a group of Sikhs and Dera Sacha Sauda supporters in Dabwali town in Haryana's Sirsa district, prompting police in neighbouring Punjab to go on high alert.

The clash broke out after an altercation between two sides during morning prayers  naamcharcha  of Dera supporters in Dabwali, about 60 km from here, Deputy Commissioner V Umashankar said.

"One person belonging to the group of Sikh supporters slipped and fell down and was killed during the clash," he said.

Umashankar said that the district administration had not been told about the Dera programme in advance.

"Generally, we are informed about any naamcharcha by the Dera people, but this time we had no information because of which we could not take any action.

"It was a small prayer congregation in which about 30-35 people from Dera side were present and the Sikh group numbered about 50. There was some altercation between the two groups after which they clashed and pelted stones at each other," he said.

He said tension has been brewing up in Dabwali and Sirsa, the headquarters of the Dera, whose head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh is at loggerheads with the Sikhs.

Additional forces including two companies (200 personnel) of Rapid Action Force has been deployed in Sirsa and Dabwali to prevent any untoward incident, he said.

Some Sikhs from Punjab have also reached here and protesters have blocked Sirsa-Bathinda road, sources said.

Meanwhile, in Punjab a high alert has been sounded and additional forces were being deployed around sensitive places, including Salabatpura in Bathinda, which had in the past witnessed tension between Dera supporters and Sikhs.

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