Amritsar – Former Harmandir Sahib Ardasiya Balbir Singh, who had denied a ‘siropa’ to CM Parkash Singh Badal, and former Hazuri Ragi Bhai Baldev Singh Wadala, who had raised his voice against the Panthic set-up, were among 15 Sikh leaders and preachers who were arrested in the wee hours today.
This crackdown was conducted to scuttle the scheduled march to Bargari, where a Guru Granth Sahib ‘saroop’ was stolen and desecrated last year. The call for the July 17 march was given by Sarbat Khalsa-appointed ‘Jathedars’.
Police Commissioner Amar Singh Chahal said all leaders were detained under preventive custody.
Balbir Singh and Baldev Singh Wadala were picked from their houses in the city at around 5 am, but later they were released.
While it was for the first time that Balbir Singh was detained, Wadala was held on an earlier occasion too. The police released him the same day after a protest by his supporters outside the police station.
SAD (Amritsar) general secretary Jarnail Singh Sakhera said all Sikh leaders were picked up from their houses. Those detained include United Akali Dal president Bhai Mohkam Singh, SAD (Amritsar) district president Harbir Singh Sandhu, Wassan Singh Zaffarwal, Bhai Gurdeep Singh Bathinda and others, he claimed.
Sandhu was released and was put under house arrest as his wife was not well.
It is learnt that Sarbat Khalsa-appointed Akal Takht ‘acting Jathedar’ Bhai Dhian Singh Mand reportedly gave the slip to the police.
The Bathinda border has been sealed as Sikh preacher Baljit Singh Daduwal is in Dadu village in Haryana.