Latest Breaking News from Punjab : Sunday 24th June 2007
Tension abounds as Khalsa Action Committee's march due
Sarna, Nandgarh pull back, Bhai Daljit Singh, Kanwarpal Singh, others dig in
SALABATPURA/DINA KANGAR: Punjab continues to be sitting on a dynamite as far as tensions at the grassroot level are concerned, and in a few hours, the Khalsa Action Committee's much awaited march will be on the way, criss-crossing the disturbed terrains of Malwa.
Flag marches across Malwa have become so routine that they now figure only on the inside pages of newspapers, the Khalsa Action Committee is adamant on taking out the march against the Dera Sauda from Gurdwara Dina Kangar in Moga to Takht Damdama Sahin in Talwandi Sabo and the tussle between the panthic leaders and the administration continues about the route of the march which almost touches Salabatpura, the epicentre of volcanic reaction in Punjab to the antics of Gurmeet Ram Rahim.
But also keeping pace is the sad part of the news trickling in, something almost symptomatic of many a Sikh struggle. It is about intra-fraternity differences. Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Commitee president Paramjit Singh Sarna has pulled out of the Khalsa March, Takht Damdama Sahib jathedar Balwant Singh Nandgarh has asked that it be postponed and a split seems fast emerging between the Sarnas and rest, which include Bhai Daljit Singh of Akali Dal (Amritsar), Kanwarpal Singh of Dal Khalsa, Mohkam Singh of Damdami Taksal and others.
The SGPC has also asked that the march be posponed, the move seemingly the first indication that the unity under the larger umbrella of the Akal Takht could be lost due to any poor handling now on part of the clergy. Akal Takht jathedar Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti is cutting short his trip to Canada and a meeting has been scheduled for June 27 to discuss the apology in a sealed envelope. (Interestingly, most of the contents of the sealed envelope have already spilled out in Punjab newspapers, again indicating poor and smudgy handling of the issue).
Sarna is believed to be taking a line that he has achieved the best that could have been achieved by extracting the apology from the Dera Sauda. However, most panthic leaders (read, other than those belonging to the camp of Parkash Singh Badal) are not particularly enthused by the apology's wording. Once again, the apology is not signed by Gurmeet Ram Rahim.
The panthic lobby is especially peeved with Nandgarh for his changed version. Initially, Nandgarh had emerged as one of the most outspoken critics.
On its part, the Khalsa Action Committee (KAC) has declared it would go ahead with the planned agitation. While Jathedar Nandgarh claimed he had asked the Khalsa Action Committee to defer the march in view of Akal Takht Jathedar Joginder Singh Vedanti's appeal against agitations without approval from the clergy but supporters of the protest said it was a move by the Parkash Singh Badal government to scuttle their plans.
Dal Khalsa general secretary Kanwarpal Singh said they had planned the June 24 March with the consent of Jathedar Vedanti. "Moreover, Jathedar Nandgarh, with whom we discussed the plan thrice, had initially agreed to participate. His U-turn is only an indication that he has issued his appeal at Badal's behest," he said.
SAD (Amritsar) deputy chief Bhai Daljit Singh said the planned agitation could not be deferred. "We have made all preparations for the protest march and any decision to defer it would be detrimental to the interests of the community." Damdami Taksal spokesman Mohkam Singh said instead of issuing appeals to defer the march, Jathedar Nandgarh should in fact lead it.
The SGPC and the Takht Damdama Sahib Jathedar seem to have taken it upon themselves to scuttle the protest march. SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar has appealed that the movement against the Dera be toned down after the new apology and also suggested that the march be postponed.
Meanwhile, SAD (Amritsar) leaders and activists are reported to have gone underground to evade possible arrest ahead of the June 24 march.
The Haryana Front:
The Haryana government has stepped in to check the frequent conflicts occurring between the two sides over the "nam charcha" service in villages. While on one hand columns of the state police, Rapid Action Force (RAF) and the Border Security Force (BSF) on June 22 staged a flag march in various villages to restore confidence among people and provide a deterrence to violent ele ments, on the other a 32-member peace committee constituted by the Sirsa administration, which met on June 23, was mandated to visit all trouble-hit villages and other potential hotspots over the next three days to impress upon the Premis (Dera followers) and Sikhs to maintain communal harmony.
A district official said: "We will also try and constitute village-level peace committees to further the process. The idea is to involve more and more people and persuade them to maintain claim. They can approach the district administration in the event of a problem," said. The peace committee comprising people from various sections of society and four district officials will start travelling in small groups from tomorrow morning to spread the message of peace and harmony.
The state government, which has been under strain to maintain law and order in the district ever since Sikhs went up in arms over the blasphemous acts of Dera head Gurmeet Ram Rahim, has made it a priority to restore public order. The concern is not without reason as officials fear the incidents of violence in Haryana could shift the focus of the controversy to that state.
Much of the tension over "nam charcha" has remained concentrated on the Haryana side than in Punjab. In Sirsa, too, most clashes have taken place in villages close to Punjab. "Villages in the Jogewala-Odhan-Lakkranwali-Pucca belt, which are closer to Punjab, have been the hotspots. And those are the areas the peace committees are going to focus on," sources say.
For the readers of the WSN, this is what the sealed envelope awaiting the return of Akal Takht jathedar contains:
The Dera Sacha Sauda organisation believes in all religions (Sarv-dharma) and respects them. To help build character, to help people shun non-vegetarian food and narcotics, to help remove differences of religion, caste etc and to inculcate self-less love are the objectives of this organisation. Sant Ji says that leave aside imitation of Sarbansdani Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji Maharaj or equating with him, he cannot even think of such a thing. The developments of the last few days are a subject of concern and the misunderstandings emerging from that are extremely regrettable. In the interests of the humanity, we seek forgiveness from True Rehbar of Roohaniyat, Satguru Sarbansdani Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji and the Guru Panth. May the peace and mutual harmony prevail in Punjab, Haryana and desh-videsh, such is our wish!
QUESTIONS LEFT UNANSWERED:
1. Will the Dera chief stop his Jaam-e-Insa programs? The apology provides no answer, and a program is scheduled this week at Sirsa again.
2. Why was the meeting with the representatives of Dera held in a hush-hush manner?
3. Paramjit Singh Sarna was a member of the Khalsa Action Committee. Why did he not take the KAC into confidence while maintaining direct links with the Dera? Why did he not take permission of any of the clerics for this?
4. Why was the house of the Police SSP chosen as a meeting place?
5. Why did the Dera representatives not face the media and sneaked out in the night from the SSP's residence?
6. What prompted sudden somersault by Jathedar Balwant Singh Ji Nandgarh?
7. If the issue is of such prominence, why was it not possible for someone to open the envelope, and read out the contents to Jathedar Vedanti who could then have confabulated with other clerics or any leaders? In this age of 'new-age' communications, what impression does it convey of the highest leadership of the community? Weren't other clerics capable of opening the envelope and read and discuss what the apology contained?
8. Do we not have a situation where Sarna and the dera men, and a police SSP, knows what the Akal Takht jathedar and the Sikh quom, and best panthic leaders do not know?
9. Does anyone believe that Parkash Singh Badal does not know the contents of the sealed envelope?
10. Why is the Akali Dal silent on the opne support of Congress to the Dera head on the floor of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha in the ongoing session?
Sikh groups begin march for Dera chief's arrest
Moga (Punjab): Ignoring an appeal by SGPC to defer their march, several Sikh organisations today took out a procession, demanding arrest of the Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, charged with hurting religious sentiments of the community.
The Sikhs under the aegis of Khalsa Action Committee began the march here from the historic Gurdwara Zafar Nama, Dina Sahib to Damdami Sahib in Bathinda's Talwandi Sabo as tight security arrangements were made along its route.
The procession, which included both hardliners and moderates of the community, would pass through Salabatpura which houses the largest Dera of Sacha Sauda in Punjab.
Earlier, the Shiromani Gurudwara Parbhandhak Committee chief Avtar Singh had appealed to the organisers to defer their proposed march till tomorrow. But the Khalsa Action Committee - comprising leaders of various Sikh religious groups - decided to go ahead with its programme.
Those leading the march, including Jasbir Singh Rode, Daljit Singh Bittu, co-convenor of the Committee and Bhai Mohkam Singh, spokesman of Damdami Taksal, have appealed to the participants to maintain peace and not to raise any kind of slogans. The protestors were scheduled to pass through Kangar, Salabatpura, Bhai Roopa, Rampura Phul, Mandi Kalan and Ram Nagar before reaching Talwandi Sabo, a temporal seat of the Sikhs.
False Charges against Bhai Daljit Singh Vice President Shiromani Akali Dal Amritsar
On June 2nd, 2007, Daljit Singh Bittu, senior vice-president of the Sikh political party Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), was charged with sedition by police from Fategharh, Farrukhabad District, in the state of utter Pradesh, India.Mr. Bittu has been falsely charged.The events leading to the charge against Mr. Bittu are as follows:On May 31st, Mr. Bittu participated in a march protesting government refusal to curb the criminal activities and religious offenses of the Dera Sacha Sauda (DSS) organization. The lawful march lasted just one kilometer as participants marched from one gurdwara (Sikh place of worship) to another. Although some passionate participants shouted the slogan “Khalistan Zindabad” in reference to the desired independent Sikh nation, the entire march was peaceful.Two days later, Mr. Bittu was charged with sedition for taking part in the march. He committed no crime. He did not participate in violence, as the entire march was peaceful. He also did not participate in the shouting of pro-Khalistan slogans.The crime of sedition is clearly defined under Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). This code forbids exciting or attempting to excite disaffection towards the Indian government, but it also says that "comments expressing disapprobation of the measures of the government with a view to obtain their alteration by lawful means...do not constitute an offense." In short, it is not seditious to peacefully make comments strongly disapproving of government policies. This is exactly what Mr. Bittu, who has publicly and peacefully criticized government inaction regarding DSS, has done.Even if Mr. Bittu had shouted slogans alongside the other participants, which by all reports he did not, he still would have committed no crime. The Indian Supreme Court ruled in Balwant Singh vs. State of Punjab (1995) that the mere public use of the slogan "Khalistan Zindabad" is not illegal, saying: "It appears to us that the raising some slogans only a couple of times by the two lonesome appellants, which neither evoked any response nor any reaction from any one in the public can neither attract the provisions of Section 124A or of Section 153A IPC."Besides sedition, Mr. Bittu could only be charged with speaking his mind and participating in a public assembly. Yet these are considered rights of the people under Article 19, Clauses (1)(a) and (1)(b) of the Indian Constitution, which guarantee the right "to freedom of speech and expression" and "to assemble peaceably and without arms."The Indian government has a history of harassing Mr. Bittu for peacefully and publicly addressing grievances. In 2006, he protested the seizure of 376 acres of farmland by the government of Punjab and spoke to a group of affected farmers. He was then arrested and charged with sedition, and ultimately released on bail. U.S. congressman Edolphus Towns said of that case: "Mr. Bittu spoke out against the acquisition of the land of poor farmers by Punjab on behalf of private business firms. We have had cases in this country where the government has taken land by eminent domain for private usage, Mr. Speaker, and no one ever gets arrested for speaking out against it." Mr. Bittu has been arrested several other times for protesting government policies and served many years in prison for a variety of false charges, many of which have been dropped for lack of evidence.While Mr. Bittu’s arrest has been stayed until June 25, he has been directed to participate in all investigations and remains charged with sedition.In conclusion, Mr. Bittu has not done anything that can be legitimately considered a crime under U.S., international, or Indian law. In what is just one more incident of Indian government suppression of basic human rights, Mr. Bittu is being harassed solely for his dedication to promoting liberty through peaceful means.We urge the U.S. government to pressure India to drop charges against Mr. Bittu in the interest of the international promotion of democracy and basic human rights, including the rights to freedom of speech and self-determination. Please contact the following agencies to urge that charges against Mr. Bittu be dropped:Indian EmbassyPhone: (202) 939-7000Fax: (202) 265-43512107 Massachusetts Avenue, NWWashington, DC 20008U.S. EmbassyShantipath, ChanakyapuriPhone: 011-2419-8000Fax: +91-11-2419-0017
Amritsar, The Akal Takht should accept the apology tendered by the Dera Sacha Sauda chief to maintain peaceful atmosphere in the state.
This was stated by president of the All-India Anti-Terrorist Front Maninderjit Singh Bitta here today. Bitta said a conference of representatives of all religions should be convened and a committee constituted to look into the causes of religious conversions in the Malwa belt during the past 15 years.
He said he was not against deras but whenever these played into the hands of political parties, the peaceful atmosphere in the state got vitiated.
Sant Samaj, radicals reject apology
Moga, Directions of the SGPC to cancel the proposed Khalsa protest notwithstanding, the Sant Samaj and radical Sikh organisations have reiterated their resolve to take out the march.
At a meeting organised at Gurdwara Bibi Kahan Kaur here today, the Sant Samaj categorically rejected the second apology tendered by Dera Sacha Sauda chief Sant Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh. It said the march would be held as per the announced plan.
Earlier, president of the SGPC Avtar Singh had asked the Khalsa Action Committee to cancel the march to maintain law and order in the state.
The meeting was held under the leadership of Baba Resham Singh Kukharana. He said they did not accept the manner in which the dera head had tendered the apology. It reflected his arrogance, Kukharana said, adding that the dera head must physically appear before the Akal Takht to apologise.
Panel against show of swords, lathis during march Khalsa march to avoid Salabatpura dera
3,500 cops to ensure peace
Around 3,500 security personnel have been deployed while 30 nakas have been set up on the route of the march.
Bathinda, We will not advance towards the Salabatpura dera of the Sacha Sauda sect during the Khalsa march to be taken out tomorrow from Dina Kangar to Takht Sri Damdama Sahib, Talwandi Sabo.
This was stated by Bhai Jasbir Singh Rode (SAD-1920) and Bhai Mohkam Singh (Damdami Taksal), both members of the Khalsa Action Committee that has planned the march, in reply to a question here today. They said the march would be taken out in a peaceful manner.
They appealed to the Sikh sangat not to brandish swords, “gandasas” and lathis during the march and raise provocative slogans as Sri Guru Granth Sahib would be accompanying the march with Panj Piaras leading it.
To dispel apprehensions of violence during the march, members of the committee and the Sant Samaj Bhai Mohkam Singh, Bhai Jasbir Singh Rode, Sant Sukhchain Singh Dharampura, Sant Buta Singh Gurthali Wale and Baba Baljit Singh Daduwal held meetings with the DIG, Faridkot range, Dr J.K. Jain and Bathinda SSP Naunihal Singh here.
Bhai Mohkam Singh said they told the administration that the sangat would take part in the march and chant “Satnam Waheguru” while maintaining discipline.
Bhai Jasbir Singh Rode said there were no differences in the committee over the march. The route of the march would remain unchanged. Any decision on the apology letter sent by the Dera Sacha Sauda chief would be taken by five high priests.
Bhai Rode and Bhai Mohkam Singh said they wanted Jathedar of Takht Sri Damdama Sahib Balwant Singh Nandgarh, president of the SGPC Avtar Singh and president of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee Paramjit Singh Sarna to join the march.
Chetna March not Protest March
Sikh organisations, including radical bodies, have agreed to change the name of their "awareness" march here after persuasion by the authorities.
An hour-long meeting between the organisations and police officials, including the DIG and SSP, led them to change the "Khalsa protest march" to the "Khalsa Chetna march" The organisations' heads also agreed on not taking any kind of weapon with them and not shouting any slogans.
However, the organisers refused to change the route of the march, which will pass about one-and-half kilometres from the Dera Salabatpura, which was attacked by Sikh protestors on May 17. Among the leaders present at the talks were Bhai Jasvir Singh Rode, former jathedar Akal Takht, Bhai Mohkam Singh of Damdami Taksal, Sant Sukhchain Singh Dharampura, Sant Buta Singh Gurthari, and Gurdeep Singh.
Senior Superintendent of Police Naunihal Singh, when contacted, said talks were still on with marchers and police were fully prepared to maintain law and order at all costs. "We have stationed as many as 3,700 personnel on the route for the march and no one will be allowed to move towards Salabatpura with evil intentions. However, talks are on to convince the protesors to change the route," he said.
The march will start at 0930 hours from Gurudwara Dina Sahib Kangar and end on reaching Talwadi Sabo in the evening at around 1700 hours.
SGPC chief Avtar Singh Makkar and Jathedar Balwant Singh Nandgarh had appealed to the protestors to defer the march and wait for the decision of the Akal Takht on the apology submitted by the Dera Sacha Sauda chief Guru Ram Rahim Singh on June 20.
Khalsa March begins amid tight security
Hundreds of Sikh activists today began the much-publicised 120-km Khalsa march from Gurdwara Zafar Nama Dina Sahib here to Damdama Sahib at Talwandi Sabo in the neighbouring Bathinda district amid tight security to press for the arrest of Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmit Ram Rahim Singh for allegedly hurting Sikh religious sentiments.
At least 2000 Sikh devotees assembled at 1115 hrs at Gurdwara Zafar Nama Dina Sahib for the 'ardas' after which a 200-vehicle strong cavalcade carrying the leaders and representatives of various parties left for Damdama Sahib, led by Panj Payaras and a decorated tractor trolly carrying the 'Palki' with the holy Guru Granth Sahib.
According to the organisers, with whom the administration held several meetings, to the march was purely a religious one and a 'symbolic reply the ''sacrilegious act of Dera Sacha Sauda head in trying to emulate the 10th Sikh Guru Gobind Singh''.
The march was organised by the Khalsa Action Committee, a group representing by hardliner and moderate Sikh organisations including Sant Samaj, Shiromani Akali Dal Amritsar , Shiromani Akali Ravinder Singh (1920), set up to counter ''the Dera Sacha Sauda threat and implement the edict of Akal Takht''.
Bhai Jasbir Singh Rode, acting Akal Takht Jathedar, Daljit Singh Bittu co-convenor Khalsa Action Committee, Bhai Mohkam Singh, spokesman Damdami Taksal, Gurdeep Singh Bathinda General Secretary Akali Dal 1920, Sant Buta Singh, Karnail Singh Panjoli, Kanwarpal Singh Khalsa and Harinder Singh ex MP Norway were prominent among those who joined the march.
Daljit Singh Bittu and Bhai Jasbir Singh Rode alleged that though a consesus had been arrived on the route late last night with Inspector General Police M K Tiwari and they had assured the administration that it would be a peaceful affair, the police put up numerous 'nakas', (police checkpost), causing inconvenience to the participants.
The Punjab police even put up nakas in Jagraon area and at Harike bridge and checked people from Majha and other parts which delayed the procession, they said. However, police officials observed that 'nakas' were erected simply to check the entry of undesirable elements with weapons and denied allegations that people were harassed.
Meanwhile, Convenor of Khalsa Action Committee and President of Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Committee Paramjit Singh Sarna, who was instrumental in getting an apology letter from Gurdwara Sacha Sauda head for the Akal Takht, was conspicuous by his absence. Before the start of the march, almost all the speakers appealed to participants not to raise any slogan in the presence of Guru Granth Sahib in the palki, not to carry any firearms and maintain peace, as requested by the administration.
According to sources, the organisers also agreed to call the march Khalsa Chetna March instead of Khalsa march on the request of the administration. However, they refused to avoid Salabatpur and insisted on marching past the main Dera Sacha Sauda Centre in Punjab. In view of this, the Inspector General Police M K Tiwari, along with other officials, had conducted a survey of the area to ensure that the march passed off peacefully. More than 4,000 police and para military forces personnel were deployed, he said.
Police seeks govt’s nod to arrest dera head
Chandigarh, Trouble for Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh has increased, with the police seeking the Punjab government’s approval to arrest him for hurting the religious sentiments of the Sikhs.
Acting on a court order, the Bathinda police has sent an application to the government seeking sanction to prosecute the dera head, Bathinda police chief Naunihal Singh told PTI over the phone here today.
A court in Bathinda had on May 20 issued a conditional non-bailable warrant against the head of Sirsa-based sect.
On an application moved by the police seeking an arrest warrant against the dera head, the court had observed that the police would have to seek prior permission from the government before the prosecution of the dera head.
However, the state government is yet to decide on the police application, which is pending with the principal secretary (Home), chief secretary R.I. Singh said.
The order of the Bathinda court has to be executed by July 1.
Exclusive report on Jhoota Sauda
Since mid-May, Punjab has been torn by violence inspired by the spiritual organization Dera Sacha Sauda (DSS). Dera Sacha Sauda
The DSS is based in the town of Sirsa, in Haryana, India, which borders the Indian state of Punjab. It terms itself a "non-profit spiritual organization" and claims to have over 10 million followers, and 36 branches in 11 States, including Rajasthan, Punjab, Gujarat, Chattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. It was founded in 1948, and is currently headed by Gurmeet Singh (also know as "Maharaj"). The organization purports to be non-profit and to refuse donations. However, it has many followers who work the fields of its ashrams, with the income from the produce of the fields going to the organization. This income likely funds Gurmeet Singh's preferred mode of transportation, which is "a fleet of Mercedes cars, protected by up to 25 bodyguards." Attack on Sikhi Approximately two weeks ago, DSS printed an advertisement featuring Gurmeet Singh. This advertisement, coupled with other activities of DSS, demonstrate a deliberate and extremely offensive attempt to copy Sikhi. Specifically, it attempts to copy the creation of "Khalsa," the orthodox manner of Sikhi instituted by the tenth and final Sikh Guru, Gobind Singh. It does this in several ways. First, Gurmeet Singh appears dressed in the style of Guru Gobind and seated in "Bir Asaan," the style of seating used by Guru Gobind during the creation of Khalsa. This seating style is still used during Amrit Sanskar, the ceremony in which a Sikh is initiated into Khalsa. According to Jagtar Singh of the Sikh Federation, "Impersonating a Sikh guru always runs the risk of outraging even the most moderate of Sikhs." Second, Gurmeet Singh is portrayed distributing Jaam-e-Insaan, an attempted copy of the Amrit (or nectar) used in Amrit Sanskar. Amrit Sanskar is a vital ceremony in Sikhi. This is when a Sikh is publicly baptized into pure Sikhi and takes the surname "Singh" (or "lion") to denote equality with others in the community. This distribution of Jaam-e-Insaan is also a copy of Khande di Pahul, where nectar is prepared. According to Sikhi, since Guru Gobind only "Panj Pyaras" have the authority to prepare Amrit, which they must do in the presence of Guru Granth Sahib (the Sikh holy book)while following a prescribed method. Third, Gurmeet Singh includes a list of "Rules for Humanity" in his advertisement. This is an undeniable attempt to copy the "Rahatnamas" (or "Codes of Conduct") of Sikhi which were instituted by Guru Gobind. While Gurmeet Singh's list of rules are all very similar to those in Sikhi, what is most offensive is his attempt to copy Guru Gobind by issuing such a list. Fourth, Gurmeet Singh ordered his followers to adopt the name "Insaan" (or "human"), in a copy of Guru Gobind's admonition to adopt the name "Singh" (or "Kaur" for women) after Amrit Sanskar. Thus Gurmeet Singh has attempted to copy the unique creation of Khalsa by creating Insaan. DSS has also attempted to copy and offend Sikhs and even other religious groups in several other ways not included in the recent advertisement. Just as Guru Gobind taught the importance of "Panj" (or "five"), so Gurmeet Singh has copied this concept by using "Sat" (or "Seven"). Dr. Adyita Insaan, the spokesman of DSS, has equated Gurmeet Singh to Sikh Gurus Gobind Singh and Har Krishan, as well as to Ramachandra, a Hindu god. Additionally, DSS deceptively uses the symbols of the four main religions in India to attract followers: the Sikh Ek Onkar, the Muslim Star and Crescent, the Hindu Om, and the Christian Cross. In summary, DSS has created an amalgam religion which primarily attempts to copy Sikhi and is offensive to Sikhs and those of many other religions. Under Indian law, this deliberate offense is illegal. Indian Penal Code 295a reads: "Whoever, with deliberate and malicious intention of outraging the religious feelings of any class of [citizens of India], [by words, either spoken or written, or by signs or by visible representations or otherwise], insults or attempts to insult the religion or the religious beliefs of that class, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to [three years], or with fine, or with both.]" Other Criminal Activities In a December, 2002 letter to then Prime Minister of India Atal Bihari Vajpayee, a female member of DSS accused Gurmeet Singh of sexually exploiting his "Sadhvis," or female followers. The anonymous author of the letter, whose family urged her to become a "Sadhvi," says: "Two years after I became a 'Sadhvi', a special woman-disciple of Maharaj Gurmit Singh came to me one night at 10 o'clock and said that the Maharaj had summoned me to his room. I felt elated that Maharaj himself sent for me. I was going to him for the first time. After climbing the stairs, when I went into his room, I saw that he was holding a remote in his hand and was watching a blue [pornographic] film on the TV. Beside his pillow on the bed, lay a revolver.... He offered me water and said that he had called me because he considered me very close to him. This was my first experience. Maharaj took me in his embrace and said that he loved me from the core of his heart. He also said that he wanted to make love with me. He told me that at the time of becoming his disciple, I had dedicated my wealth, body and soul to him and he had accepted my offering. When I objected he said, 'There is no doubt that I am God.'" Gurmeet Singh then blackmailed the "Sadhvi" into having sex with him by threatening to kill her and her family. She claims that many other Sadhvis are regularly raped by Gurmeet Singh, saying that her time comes "every 25-30 days." She says other Sadhvis who have tried to reveal their sexual exploitation have been threatened, beaten, and even maimed. This letter inspired an investigation of the DSS by India's central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). On October 24, 2003 two men riding a motorcycle and claiming to be from DSS shot journalist Ram Chandra Chatrapati four times at point-blank range. Chatrapati was the editor of "Poora Sach" and had been investigating the recent charges of sexual exploitation by Gurmeet Singh. He died of his injuries a month later. Two men arrested on suspicion of Chatrapati's murder said they were DSS followers and had been sent on orders from Kishan Li, a senior DSS official, to kill Chatrapati because of his investigations. Sirsa District Deputy Commissioner D. Suresh says his office has also received multiple complaints about the Sirsa-based DSS allegedly being involved in the theft of land, drug distribution, and tax evasion. After the mid-May 2007 publication of the offensive DSS advertisement, many Sikhs in Punjab protested Gurmeet Singh's attempted copy of Guru Gobind. DSS followers retaliated, assaulting many Sikhs and injuring many of the police trying to calm the situation. Over 100 people were injured by DSS followers, many of them police. They also attacked fire personnel, set a police jeep on fire, and attacked a deputy commissioner's residence. Worst of all, Kamaljit Singh, a Sikh, was killed on May 17th by a bullet fired from inside a Sunam, Punjab DSS compound. Conclusion The son of murdered journalist Chatrapati, Anshul Chatrapati, has alleged that members of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) have urged Sonia Gandhi, president of the Indian Congress, to influence the CBI probe into DSS in favor of Gurmeet Singh out of respect for his strong support of the Congress in the recent elections. The recent transfer of the DSS case from CBI officer Dr. Armandeep Singh to Satish Dagger, which Anshul Chatrapati believes is an indication of government tampering in the ongoing investigation. He believes the PPCC entered into a deal with Gurmeet Singh prior to the elections in which the Congress would overlook his criminal activities if he urged his followers to support the Congress. This government interference in an objective investigation, coupled with the refusal to prosecute Gurmeet Singh under IPC 295a, places a large part of the blame for the DSS-inspired chaos in northern India on the shoulders of the Indian Government. India must diligently pursue the thorough investigation of Gurmeet Singh and his criminal activities. Additionally, India must charge Gurmeet Singh under IPC 295a in order to achieve both justice and peace in northern India.