NEW DELHI: Accepting the petition of the followers of Dera Sacha Sauda, the Supreme Court on Tuesday transferred the 2015 Bargari sacrilege cases out of Punjab.
A bench of Justices Anuradha Bose and Sudhanhu Dhulia issued the order on the petition by five dera followers accused of the sacrilege, namely Sukhjinder Singh, alias Sunny, Shakti Singh, Ranjit Singh, alias Bhola, Nishan Singh and Baljit Singh, in December. They had approached the top court after the murders of Mahinder Pal Bittu and Pradeep Kataria, an accused in the sacrilege case.
Trial against Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim and seven dera followers in three interlinked cases of sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib at Bargari in 2015 has been transferred from a Faridkot court to Chandigarh.
After the murder of Dera Sacha Sauda follower Pardeep Singh Kataria, other “premis” (as the sect followers are known) accused of sacrilege, moved the Supreme Court again, seeking the transfer of the trial in the three sacrilege cases to a court out of Punjab, citing “security threat”.
Dera follower Pardeep was shot dead by six shooters inside his shop at Hari Nau in Kotkapura on November 10. Pardeep was accused in two cases of sacrilege, the theft of a bir (copy) of Guru Granth Sahib and sacrilege at Bargari in Faridkot district. He was granted bail in the sacrilege cases on August 3, 2021.
Trial in all three cases is pending in a Faridkot court at the stage of arguments on framing of charges.
Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh has been named as the main conspirator in the sacrilege cases by the SIT led by the inspector general of police SPS Parmar.
In 2020, members of Dera Sacha Sauda had also sought a transfer of the trial of 2015 Guru Granth Sahib sacrilege cases pending before the courts in Bathinda, Moga and Faridkot in Punjab to a court in Delhi or to a nearby state. However, the Supreme Court had refused to shift the 2015 Guru Granth Sahib sacrilege case trial to another state, saying “no credible case for transfer of trial to alternative venues outside the state of Punjab is made out”.
Pardeep was the seventh dera follower to have been killed since the sacrilege incidents of 2015 in Faridkot district.
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