Friday, September 29, 2023

After Takht offer of homecoming to Sikh premis, dera hits back


Chandigarh, Aug 31: A day after the jathedar (head) of the Sikh temporal seat Akal Takht announced that doors are open for Sikhs to return to the religion’s fold from Dera Sacha Sauda, the sect’s Punjab headquarters in-charge, Jora Singh, said on Wednesday: “Now, those with double standards within the dera will get exposed.”

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The sparring comes after the dera chief, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, was sentenced to 20 years in jail in a rape case. In-charge of the Salabatpur dera centre near Bathinda, Jora stressed, “We are with the sect and will remain with the sect. Some people are mistaken that after the dera head’s conviction, devotees’ faith in the dera will be shaken. That will not happen. Whole sangat (devotees) are standing with the dera head. We need to have trust in him. We have faced tough times earlier too. The activities of dera will go on as usual.”

It must be mentioned here that in 2007, the Sikh clergy had had issued a hukamnama (edict) for social boycott of the dera after Gurmeet, who was born a Sikh, committed “blasphemy” by dressing up as the tenth Sikh master, Guru Gobind Singh. In 2015, the clergy issued a pardon to Gurmeet for the row that had sparked violence between dera followers and Sikh hardliners; but that pardon was later retracted under community pressure.

Jora, when asked specifically about the jathedar’s “homecoming” offer, said: “This situation has come as a test for dera followers too who have double standards. They will get exposed.”

However, the Salabatpura dera has seen no crowds right from the day a CBI court in Panchkula pronounced the dera head guilty on August 25. A dera employee said that only those working here are visiting, and no ordinary followers are present. Shops where dera’s products of daily needs are sold have been closed since last Friday.

Source Hindustan Times



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