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Dera Sacha Sauda follower shot dead in Faridkot; three injured

Pardeep Singh was an accused in the 2015 sacrilege incident

shot dead Representation.

A Dera Sacha Sauda follower, an accused in the 2015 sacrilege incident, was shot dead by unidentified assailants in Punjab's Faridkot district on Thursday morning. Singh is the seventh Dera follower killed since the sacrilege case.

Pardeep Singh was attacked while going to his shop. He had security personnel with him, who opened fire in retaliation. Three people, including a gunman, were injured in the shootout and have been admitted to a hospital.

"We have received CCTV footage and have got some leads. The situation is under control," Pradeep Kumar Yadav, IG, Faridkot range, told ANI.

He added that the police have got some leads and are working on them and the assailants will be arrested soon.

Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann appealed for peace and said no one will be allowed to disturb peace in the state. "Punjab is a peace-loving state where mutual brotherhood of people is very strong...No one will be allowed to disturb the peace of PunjabStrict instructions to the civil and police officials to maintain the peace and tranquillity in the state, said Mann in a tweet.

Pardeep, an accused in the case of theft of a 'bir' (copy) of the Guru Granth Sahib in 2015 in Faridkot, was currently on bail. 

Three days after the theft, two posters bearing derogatory language against the holy book were found in Burj Jawahar Singh Wala and Bargari villages. The pages of the holy book were also seen strewn outside the Bargari Gurudwara as well as on the streets around the village.

This triggered widespread protests across Punjab. While two people were killed in Behbal Kalan, a few others were injured at Kotkapura in Faridkot after police fired at protesters.

An investigation was launched by the special investigation team (SIT) of the Punjab Police, which pinned the blame on Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda. Dera chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim and 11 other sect followers were charged in the incident.

Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh is currently serving a 20-year jail term for raping two women disciples at his ashram in Sirsa.

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