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At the crossroads: Dera Sacha Sauda devotees disillusioned, but wary of Sikh clergy’s call

Punjab, Sep 15: Six-feet tall Jaskaran, a farm labourer of Deon village in the district, stands disillusioned with the Dera Sacha Sauda cult. But he is equally wary of the Sikh clergy’s clarion call to the beleaguered dera devotees to embrace Sikhism.

Though he does not explain his reservations over Akal Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh’s appeal for ‘ghar wapsi’ into the Sikh fold, 60-year-old Buta Singh, a Dalit Sikh, comes straight to the point. “A Dalit remains a Dalit. You see Mazhabi Sikhs and Balmikis have separate gurdwaras.”

He adds, “I remember how the granthi of a gurdwara of zamindaars (Jat Sikh landlords) used to call us ‘Mazhabi’ and kept a separate old copy of Guru Granth Sahib for Dalits whenever they needed the holy book for ‘path’ (recitation) at home (for a ritual).”

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