Protesting Nihangs had been seeking FIR against Soni
Gurdaspur, November 16
After a 36-hour-long impasse, the police booked state Shiv Sena leader Harvinder Soni following a protest staged by Nihangs in front of the SSP office seeking the registration of an FIR under section 295-A (hurting religious sentiments).
The deadlock was broken after SSP Deepak Hilori had opened different channels of negotiations with the protesters.
Keeping in view the stubbornness displayed by the protesters, some overnight back channel diplomacy by senior officers at the SSP’s behest also came in handy. This was evident when yesterday the Nihangs had proclaimed their defiance by saying “For us, it is now or never”. However, today they were soft and were open to confabulations even with junior officers.
A few days ago, Soni, who has been given a 10-man round-the-clock security by the cops ever since he faced a murderous assault in 2015, had openly ridiculed the Sikh community in a video, angering many radical organisations.
Sources say the FIR would have been registered yesterday itself but for the fact that Sudhir Soni’s bhog ceremony was to be held today at Amritsar. “His arrest, if done yesterday, would have acted as a trigger at the bhog where Hindu leaders were present in a big way,” said an officer.
The Nihangs decided to spend the night at the site itself. When ration stocks started arriving from nearby places, it was clear that the police would be in for a long haul if the issue was not resolved at the earliest.
Toofan Singh, a Nihang leader, and others of his ilk were prepared to stay at the site for the next 30 days “and had come prepared accordingly”.
“We are fighters of the Guru and know how to wage a battle till it is won,” he said.
The day was not without drama. The Nihangs reacted angrily when some leaders of SAD (Mann) arrived and tried to hog the limelight following which the latter distanced themselves from the proceedings.
Soni had ‘ridiculed’ community
A few days ago, state Shiv Sena leader Harvinder Soni had openly ‘ridiculed’ the Sikh community in a video, angering many radical organisations.