About 55 Sikh devotees have been booked for violating Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPc) by taking out a religious procession from Kiratpur Gurdwara in Uttar Pradesh's Pilibhit district on Sunday to commemorate the Shahidi Diwas (martyrdom of the sons of Guru Govind Singh). The FIR names five accused and 50 unidentified persons.
The police said that the procession was taken out without seeking permission from the administration and hence, amounted to a violation of section 144, which prohibits unlawful assembly of four or more persons in an area.
The police have also seized a car with saffron flags that was a part of the procession.
According to Station House Officer (SHO) Sanjeev Kumar Upadhaya, the devotees have been booked under section 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) of the Indian Penal Code.
The village head of the Kheri Naubaramad village, Ranjeet Singh, however, said they had sought permission from sub-divisional magistrate of Kalinagar circle, Hari Om Sharma, but he declined.
"The devotees were under the impression that they were simply taking out a peaceful religious procession without intending to create any disturbance. However, the way police acted on the matter is unfortunate. The procession also had a large presence of women and children," the village head said.
The president of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, Manjinder Singh Sirsa, has been apprised of the matter and he has reportedly criticised the police for the people action.
Sirsa was quoted as having said that he would take up the matter with the Uttar Pradesh Police administration and ensure that such incidents are not repeated in future.