After a Singh got cremated Jathedar Nandgarh announced, “Jo ohda sir liayu, sone chandi naal tol diange” (who will bring the head of Dera Sacha Sauda’s chief, he will be weighed against gold and silver), said by Jathedar Takhat Damdama Sahib Ji Bhai Sahib Balwant Singh Nandgrah.
Punjab the latest - Dera wants Makkar arrested
Sirsa, May 18After the Sikhs high priests’ edict, now the Dera Sacha Sauda sect high-level committee, in a strong tone today, demanded the arrest of the SGPC president Avtar Singh, former SGPC president Bibi Jagir Kaur and three “hardliners” Baljit Singh, Daljit Singh and former Akal Takht jathedar Bhai Ranjit Singh, holding them responsible for the yesterday’s attacks on a number of deras in Punjab.The official-bearers of the sect maintained that they were ready to hold a dialogue with the Sikh high priests to solve the problem. “We have opened all channels to solve the conflict, but the Sikh hardliners have not responded so far,” the committee said. It maintained that the Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh had never imitated the 10th Guru Gobind Singh. So we can solve this issue with mutual consent once the dialogue is opened, a committee member added.The chief spokesman of the dera Dr Aditya Arora said that the high level committee of the dera, comprising office-bearers from all over the country, took the decision here after holding a series of meetings. We demanded that the criminal cases should be registered against all five “fundamentalists”, including the SGPC president Avtar Singh, and they should be arrested. A number of deras were burnt in Punjab and foul language used. This could have been avoided if they had made an attempt to solve the dispute with mutual consent, he added.He said that it was unfortunate that the Punjab government remained a mute spectator in the whole episode and did not utter a single word to control the deteriorating the law and order situation yesterday. The government even did not express its concern for the families of yesterday’s incidents.
Bhindranwale Taksal led attack Chandigarh, May 18: Radical Sikhs once closely associated with the "Khalistan" movement instigated and led the attacks against the five deras of the Sacha Sauda sect on Thursday evening. Pushed to the very fringe of Punjabi society, the Khalistanis resurfaced in considerable strength during the panthic meet convened by the Akal Takht at Talwandi Sabo on Thursday. Taking Jathedar Joginder Singh Vedanti and his fellow clerics completely by surprise, the radicals who represent once-outlawed outfits like the Dal Khalsa, Babbar Khalsa, Sikh Students' Federation and Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale's own seminary, Damdami Taksal, intelligence sources said, "dubbed the Akal Takht's edict calling for a social and political boycott of the Dera and its followers as too soft... This was part of a pre-planned strategy."Seconds after Jathedar Vedanti delivered his edict, Damdami Taksal chief Harnam Singh Dhumma, alias Harnam Singh Bhindranwale, hijacked the panthic stage and declared that "Sikhs would deal with the heretics (Sacha Sauda followers) in their own way." Minutes later, supported by SSF activist Daljeet Singh Bittu and other former Khalistanis, he exhorted a 20,000-strong mob of frenzied devotees to follow him in avenging the insult done to their Guru.For more than eight hours, Dhumma and the mob laid siege to the Sacha Sauda Dera at Salabatpura intent in razing it to the ground, unmindful of the fact that thousands of Sacha Sauda followers — men, women and children — had taken refuge inside. It was only because of the massive police presence and the fact that the Sikh mob considerably thinned out during the siege that Salabatpura and its inhabitants survived Thursday night.The radicals, however, met with more of their kind of success at Maur Mandi, Khanna, Sunam and some other Sacha Sauda establishments, which were thoroughly vandalised even though one Sikh paid with his life at Sunam. On Friday, at Kamalhit Singh's funeral in Sunam, the Khalistanis happily proclaimed him "the first shaheed (martyr) of the new holy war against the heretics of Sacha Sauda." The announcements were met with lusty "Khalistan Zindabad" slogans.
Most Punjabis had nothing to do with faith frenzyChandigarh: Having witnessed mindless terrorism for over a decade and a half (1982-95), a majority of the people in Punjab condemned the latest round of violence this week instigated by hardline Sikh groups that tried to hijack the state in the name of religion. Contrary to what television visuals showed angry Sikhs and equally determined Dera Sacha Sauda sect followers taking to the streets with swords, traditional weapons, sticks, bricks and anything they could lay their hands on, a majority of the state's population comprising the dominant Sikh community, Hindus, Muslims, Christians and others had no involvement in the frenzy. The Sikhs who took to the streets were mainly those owing allegiance to radical Sikh organisations like Damdami Taksal - which still continues to preach separatist ideology - Dal Khalsa and other hardline groups. A section of the Sikh community protested against the chief of the sect, Gurmit Ram Rahim portraying himself on the lines of revered 10th guru Gobind Singh. Though all Sikhs and people from other religions seemed upset with the portrayal, it was only a small section of the community that resorted to violence. The incidents made the state remember black days of terrorism in just five days this week. "The TV visuals have done a lot of damage to the Sikh community. Brandishing swords and sticks and attacking shops and properties are not the values of our progressive community. People will get an impression that we are a primitive community living in the 21st century. Our political leadership is responsible for allowing this to happen," lamented educationist Raghubir Singh of Phagwara town. Leaders of the Damdami Taksal and other hardliners, who had been lying low since terrorism was wiped out of Punjab in 1995 and all communities had been living in peace, suddenly found an issue in the Dera Sacha Sauda controversy to assume centre stage. "These organisations have their own agenda. Not every Sikh or Punjabi is with them. People are more bothered about peace and their bread and butter," retired government officer Swaran Singh told IANS. As the state saw near normalcy Friday, people across Punjab, particularly businessmen and traders from all communities, Saturday tried to get things in order and count the losses they suffered during four days of violence. Helped by the indifference of the Akali Dal government led by Parkash Singh Badal in controlling the situation from going out of hand in the beginning itself, these radical elements enjoyed a free run all over the state, especially in the cotton-rich Malwa belt of south Punjab. "My government has done everything to control the situation. What do you know what we have been doing behind the scenes to curb rising passions (of the Sikh community). We will not allow anyone to take law in their hands," Chief Minister Badal told reporters here Friday. But the hardline Sikh groups are not going to let things pass as easily. The May 20 deadline to the Badal government to get the sect chief arrested is the biggest hurdle that the state government will face on Sunday. The arrival of nearly 40 companies of paramilitary forces, who have also conducted flag marches in various parts of Punjab, and deployment of Punjab police in good numbers will ensure that violence will not erupt again next week.