Dera chief offers regrets
Tribune News Service
Finally after five days of series of violent incidents in many states, Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, in a bid to end the conflict between Sikhs and dera followers, today expressed deep regret over the incidents due to the controversy.
Maintaining that he had never imitated the 10th Guru Gobind Singh, the dera chief said the misunderstanding with Sikhs had surfaced after the advertisement appeared on May 13 in newspapers showing him dressed like Guru Gobind Singh.
Although the dera chief, in a release issued to the press at 10.30 p.m. at the dera, did not mention the word “apology”, he expressed his feelings using the word regret to put an end to the conflict that led to clashes between dera followers and Sikhs in a number of states.
The decision in this regard came after deputy commissioner V. Umashankar and SP Vikas Arora held a meeting with a dera high-level committee, headed by the chief spokesman of the dera Dr Aditya. With a view to easing the tension, the dera chief made the statement just a day before Sikhs radicals had decided action against the dera chief.
Earlier in the day, making an effort to ease the tension, the baba appealed to the dera followers and Sikh hardliners to maintain peace, stating that the incidents of violence in Punjab had greatly hurt him. For me, both the dera followers as well as Sikh sangat are equal and they should restrain themselves from indulging in clashes, he added.
Seeking Centre’s intervention to solve the dispute, the dera chief said it should invite both Sikhs high priests and members of the dera management to sit together to clear misunderstandings for the welfare of the humanity.
He also appealed to the President and Prime Minister to make efforts to prevent incidents of violence in Punjab and other states.
“I have repeatedly made it clear that we have not done anything to hurt the sentiments of Sikhs. I had not imitated the 10th Guru Gobind Singh. I could not even think to do so. We called ourselves ‘Daash’ not guru. The dera followers have the same faith and respect for the preachings of Guru Gobind Singh as Sikhs have,” the dera chief said.
While the management of the Dera Sacha Sauda has decided to restrict public meetings with the dera chief after the Punjab government reportedly decided to withdraw the security personnel of the dera chief, the meeting of mediapersons with dera chief have also been stopped.
Meanwhile, after holding a meeting of the high-level committee of the dera, its chief spokesman Dr Aditya Arora condemned the statement made by the Jathedar of Damdama Sahib against the dera.