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Saturday, June 30, 2007

Latest Breaking News from Punjab: Saturday 30th June 2007
Interim bail for dera chief

Chandigarh, Even as the Punjab government has upped the ante on the Dera issue by granting sanction to prosecute and arrest Dera Sacha Sauda chief Sant Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today came to the rescue of the beleaguered Sant by granting him interim bail and also issued a notice of motion to Punjab for August 6.
Justice L.N. Mittal stated in his order, following a petition by the Dera chief that he be granted anticipatory bail, that “the petitioner (Dera chief), if arrested, shall be released on interim bail to the satisfaction of the arresting officer subject to conditions specified in Section 438(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The petitioner shall also surrender his passport before the arresting officer”.
An FIR bearing No 262, dated May 20, under Section 295-A IPC was lodged against the dera chief at Police Station Kotwali, Bathinda, by Rajinder Singh Sidhu who claimed himself to be the president of Khalsa Diwan Guru Singh Sabha, Bathinda.
Following the registration of the FIR, the Punjab Police had obtained non-bailable production warrants against the dera chief from a Bathinda court and sought the permission of the Punjab government, as directed by the court, to arrest and start prosecution of Sant Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.
It was alleged in the FIR that advertisements had appeared in newspapers on May 13 showing Sant Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in a dress similar to the one worn by the tenth Sikh Guru Sri Guru Gobind Singh. A ritual starkly similar to the Sikh baptisation ceremony was also allegedly performed by the Dera chief.
Strongly questioning the veracity of the FIR, the petitioner’s counsel submitted that the complaint was politically motivated and frivolous. It was stressed that no offence under Section 295-A IPC could be made out from the contents of the FIR.
He also averred that the petitioner had never imitated or tried to act like Guru Gobind Singh and, moreover, had apologised twice to assuage the hurt feelings of the Sikh community.
Hammering on the good Samaritan image of the dera, the petitioner’s counsel averred that the Dera’s name had found place in the Guinness Book of World Records as well as the Limca Book of Records for blood donation. The dera also organised spiritual santsangs and was engaged in various noble causes.
Touching upon the philosophical moorings of the Dera, counsel further submitted that whole spiritual edifice of the Dera was built upon the theme “Only God is worth praise who is known by various names”. The petitioner’s counsel averred that the furore had political genesis, as some news reports had suggested, and that the dera was being hounded for its reported support to the Congress.

Define apology, dera tells priests

Sirsa, The Dera Sacha Sauda followers today decided to continue their indefinite fast even after the Punjab and Haryana High Court granted interim bail to dera chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh till August 6 in a case registered against him in Bathinda under Section 295-A.
The dera said the protest would continue as there was no let up in atrocities being committed against dera followers in Punjab.
Dera’s chief spokesman Aditya Arora, while reacting on the High Court orders at a press conference here this evening, said “the matter is sub judice and our legal team is handling the matter so we will not comment on it.
However, the dera followers will continue their fast unto death staged in front of DC office as the atrocities against the dera followers continue in Punjab”.
He said “we have not closed the option to sort out the conflict with Sikhs
But we are hurt about the way in which our three apology letters have been rejected by the Sikh high priests.
We have great respect for 10th Guru Gobind Singh and Sikh Sangat. The dera had tendered a apology to the supreme Guru Gobind Singh and had sent the signed third letter to Sikh high priests.
“Now we will open dialogue only when the Sikh high priests will clarify who is supreme and to whom we can tender a fresh apology which is acceptable to them” he added.
Meanwhile, the decision of the High Court came as a relief for the dera followers who were eagerly waiting for the court orders.
Even before the religious discourse of the dera chief, many of the speakers expressed relief over the court orders while addressing dera followers at Majlis ground.
Meanwhile, a team of Haryana Police personnel, carrying security equipment- a part of Z plus security to be provided to dera chief, reached the dera today.
As many as 36 police personnel, including commandos and bulletproof vehicle, will be provided to the dera chief under Z-plus security cover.

Bitter sniping over dera issue - Congress/BJP/SAD Trying to get more supporters

Chandigarh, The Budget session of the Punjab Assembly today ended on a note of confrontation between the ruling SAD-BJP combine and the Congress on the dera issue.
The Congress MLAs not only rejected the personal invitation of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal as well as of the Speaker to join the lunch after the conclusion of the session but also decided to take on the government more strongly in the days to come. “For us a discussion on the latest law and order situation, which we were not allowed, was more important in the House than the invitation for lunch”, said Leader of the Opposition Rajinder Kaur Bhattal.
While Badal today rejected the Opposition demand to hold an inquiry into the alleged police excesses on Congress activists and common citizens, Bhattal said the “Badal government should go as it has failed to protect the Constitutional rights of followers of Dera Sacha Sauda in the state”.
Badal said: “ No major incident has taken place. The situation is under control. And hence there is no need to order any judicial or other inquiry”. He said cases had been registered against all those- they might be followers of the dera or those opposing them- who had been violating the law. “No one is above the law,” he affirmed when asked about the arrest of all those involved in creating trouble in the state for the past several weeks.
Badal said he had no word from his counterpart in Haryana with regard to joint maintenance of law and order because of the re-emergence of confrontation between followers of the dera and Sikh groups in certain parts of Punjab and Haryana.
On the other hand, Bhattal said Badal was playing divisive politics on the dera issue. “Why was the apology, which was prepared by involving senior functionaries of the SGPC and certain officers of the Punjab Government, not accepted,” she asked. The government could not be allowed to play political stunts on this very sensitive issue, she said.
“Badal was aware of the content of the apology,” she asserted. Not accepting the apology had put a question mark on the intentions of the government to maintain peace in the state, she said.
Followers of the dera were facing problems in holding marriages and other social functions, she said. They were being forced to accept “siropas”. She said efforts had been made to push “followers” out from the fold of Sikhism by preventing them from performing ceremonies as per Sikhism. “We are going to set up a 21-member committees of Congress activists in each village of Malwa region to protect the fundamental and constitutional rights of people and to maintain harmony and peace”, she said.
“We were expecting that Badal will make a suo motu statement today on the law and order situation in the Assembly today but he did not”, Bhattal said. “Badal wants to see Punjab burning,” she added.

Dera men, Sikhs come close to clashing thrice

Moga, Members of Sikh community and followers of Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda came close to a showdown thrice in and around the Nihal Singhwala sub-division during the past 24 hours.
Dera follower Buta Singh of Himmatpura village was organising ‘namcharcha’ when the activists of the Ek Noor Khalsa Fauj reached there and tried to stop him. The police brought the situation under control.
Elsewhere, unidentified persons burnt a tempo belonging to Ruldu Singh, a dera follower and a resident of Gehlan village, last night.
The bhog of a dera follower at Dhalle Ke village turned into a hotspot when the deceased’s brother Mangal Singh insisted that it be held according to the Sikh rites while his friends wanted a ‘nam charcha’.

Khalsa panel to reconstitute itself

Fatehgarh Sahib, The meeting of the Khalsa Action Committee (KAC), which was constituted to spearhead the agitation against the chief of Dera Sacha Sauda, was held here today sans the Sant Samaj. Even as several member of KAC continued to elude the media, some leaders confided that it had been decided to reconstitute the Khalsa Action Committee following recent developments.
A split in the Khalsa Action Committee was quite evident after the meeting. Some of the members, who appeared to be demoralised after the meeting, maintained that though some important decisions had been taken in the meeting, the details could not be revealed to the media.
However, sources within the KAC disclosed that the committee had decided to meet the Chief Ministers of both Punjab and Haryana to take up the issue of dera chief's arrest. Besides, the KAC has also decided to hold a series of protest marches in the state, the sources stated.
The KAC also approved the rejection of Dera's apology by the Akal Takht, the sources said.

Meeting of KAC at Fatehgarh Sahib

A meeting of KAC started here in Fatehgarh Sahib on late evening of 29 June. KAC is expected to decide future course of Action in this meeting. Extension of committee is also expected.
Dera Head's Arrest Stayed Till 6 Aug: All speculations of arrest of dera sauda head has been set at rest by Punjab and Haryana High Court which has issed a stay order against arrest warrest issued by Bathinda Court for arrest of dera sauda head.

Sant Samaj Withdraw From Membership of KAC

Sant Samaj, after a meeting, announced abondonment of membership of Khalsa Action Committee. Previously two nominees of Sant Samaj, Baba Baljit Singh Daduwal and Baba Sukhchain Singh Dharmpura were members of KAC.

Dera Demanded Dismissal of Punjab Government

Dera Sirsa has demanded dismissal of Badal Government form President of India. 25 Person affiliated to dera have started a fast to put pressure on Government. Dera is threatned by sanction of arrest given by Punjab Government yesterday.

Government Gives Sanction for Dera Head's Arrest

Punjab Government has given sanction, as requred by Bathinda Court's Arrest Warrant Order, to Bathinda Police to proceed for dera cheif's arrest.
Second Apology Rjected: In a crutial meeting today, the Akal Takht rejected second socalled apology submitted by dera sauda.

Jathedar Refused to Meet KAC

Jathedar Joginder Singh has refused to meet members of Khalsa Action Committee. It is notable that 5 members of KAC went to Sri AKal Takht Sahib to meet Jathedars and give their opinion on fresh apology by dera. But due to political pressure Jathedar refused to meet them. It was surprising that Sikhs were waiting for decision on dera issue but Jathedar was out for inaugrating somebody's house. His secretary informed KAC that Jathedar do not want to meet KAC members. Then Members of 5 member Sub-committee submitted their view through a letter for All Jathedars and released same to Press also.

Dera's Apology was Just a Press Release
Dera Sauda Sirsa (DSS)'s sealed letter termed as fresh apology by media was just a Press Release, with slite diffrence from previous such release.

Jathedar Sahiban, we shouldn't have been guessing

While it is to be appreciated that the Jathedars of the Sikh Takhts correctly understood the sentiments of the Sikh community and rejected the cleverly crafted apology of the Dera Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim, what is certainly not appreciable is the fact that the Sikh community had to wait with bated breath for the outcome till the clergy actually pronounced it. What was so obvious to the Sikh community collectively -- that the apology is only a clever stratagem, that the dera head is least repentant, that he is continuing to do exactly what he is apologizing for, that the government has done precious little in bringing him to book, that his followers are adamant on rather increasing the frequency of nam-charchas, that the state establishment has made its intentions clear by providing him with z-plus security -- was not considered enough to correctly fathom the end result of the Jathedars' confabulations.
The kind of response that the June 24 Khalsa Chetna March received from the Sikh sangat was indicator enough of the mood of the panth. The fact that the march was sought to be torpedoed not only by the elements in the Akali Dal-BJP government but even the SGPC and senior people working inside the Khalsa Action Committee and still turned out the way it did only sends out a positive signal. The Sikh community is aware of the hurt caused and is determined to remove the cause of the pain by either making the assaulter realize his mistake or taking measures to put its own house in order so that such attacks do not succeed.
It is at junctures like these that the history records the role of those at the helm. At a time when things move on smoothly, the leaders become only marginal players, but when a crisis emerges, the stuff of the leadership comes under question.
With every passing day, the dera head Gurmeet Ram Rahim is becoming a smaller man even in the eyes of his own followers who see that their idol is big enough to indulge in megalomania, ridiculous enough to imitate the Sikh Guru, stupid enough to then say that he can't even think of doing so, and Lilliputian enough to shirk saying a clear, candid sorry. That he is crook enough to keep crafting multiple versions of unrepentant apologies does no credit to a man whose avowed mission is to turn people into real 'insaans.'. Of course he can make a beginning by letting the CBI complete its probe into murder charge against himself, make clear his role in systematic molestation of the girls at the dera and present before the people his true motives in imitating Sikh religious lexicon.
And the Sikh leadership, including the clergy, must also beware that with each passing day, they too are under watch, and must not do anything to reduce their own stature. What Paramjit Singh Sarna has done, or Avtar Singh Makkar forever tries to do, is the one thing that a Sikh leader must stay miles away from. The Sarnas had won considerable goodwill among the Sikhs of Punjab, and they will have to do considerable effort now to win it back. The only good thing they have done is to turn themselves into befitting examples of what the leaders must not try to do when dealing with the sentiments of the community. Be clear, be transparent. Cloak and dagger, as we earlier said, is not a strategy to be employed at home.

Sikhs and the law of the land

A deredar of Sirsa has insulted the Guru of the Sikhs, the history of the Sikhs, the principles and traditions of the Sikhs. More than a month has since passed. Neither the media has presented the view point of the Sikhs honestly nor has the government done justice. The community is being told that law will take its course but the culprit who has insulted an entire community is being provided a level of security equivalent to that available to the Prime Minister. His deras are being guarded with the same zeal. When it comes to committing excesses upon the Sikhs, then where does this course of the law run? Unless these issues are deliberated upon and understood, the ongoing agitation of the Sikhs will not be able to deliver crystallized results.
Under the law of the land, the Sikhs who were displaced from Pakistan during the Partition got lesser land than what they left behind. It was as per the law set down by the government that the Sikhs were not allowed to live at one place. When the Punjabi Suba was carved after thousands of Sikhs went to jail and S. Darshan Singh Pheruman attained martyrdom, lakhs of Punjabis and vast swathes of Punjabi-speaking areas were left outside Punjab. Control of the river waters and the power generation/distribution was snatched away. All of this was the result of the law taking its own course.
In 1978, 13 Sikhs were killed by the nakli Nirankaris at Sri Amritsar. The court at Karnal not only acquitted all the accused in this case but also admonished the police for wrongly implicating the peace-loving citizens (Narakdharis) and thus hurting them. This pronouncement of the court was as per the law of the land. In 1984, on the day of the Shaheedi Gurpurab of the fifth Sikh Guru, under the garb of arresting Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bhindranwale, the Indian Army attacked Sri Darbar Sahib with tanks and artillery, which was presumably as per the law of the land. Mind you, that not a single case was pending against Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale in any thana or court. At least not under the law of the land.
The 21st century began for this country with the application of the law of the land when the police presented 133 witnesses against Prof Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar but not one was able to identify him. He, however, has been sentenced to death, of course under the law of the land.
Why does the law go to sleep when it comes to the Sikhs? When the RSS leadership openly terms the Sikhs as part of Hindus, does that not amount to an excess as per the law of the land? The little subtle secret is that even the Constitution of the country does not recognize the independent identity of the Sikhs. When constitutionally the Sikhs do not have an existence of their own, then where is the issue of being victims of excess?
When people immigrate from one country to the other, and the law of the new nation does not recognize them, then they can be termed illegal, aliens, but those who are deprived of their rights in the lad of their birth are not illegal. They are slaves. The illegal, the aliens are expatiated by the governments, thrown into jails but to loot, beat, kill or jail the slaves, you don't need much of the law. For example, even if the Supreme Court has not considered or pronounced that shouting a slogan in favour of Khalistan is any crime, but myself is facing a case of no less a crime than the crime of sedition for ostensibly doing exactly that. The most heinous crime in any country is the crime of sedition, but in this country, one is booked for sedition for desecrating a statue. Sardar Simranjit Singh Mann is facing a case of sedition because he did not like the fact that there should be a statue of Beant Singh who is no icon of human rights. Compared to his actions, the head of the dera who insulted the Sikhs gets Z+ security.
The inference is simple: Because the quom is pushed into slavery, the izzat accorded to a statue is more important than the izzat of the entire quom.
The Constitution and the law of this land is based on the brahamanvaadi philosophy. The basis of this philosophy is caste, idol worship and bharam-jaal. The SIkh gurus replaced caste with the philosophy of ‘Manas ki jaat sabhe aike pehchaanbo’ and ‘Sarbat Da Bhala’. The idol worship and human-worship were replaced with Akal Purakh and Shabad-Guru. The mumbo-jumbo of bharam and mantars was replaced by the construct of the Khalsa's high living and true calling.
The Khalsa made history by following the path of the Gurus and had its own reign. Many do not like the fact that the Gurus were able to negate the Brahamanvaad's basic concepts and equipped the Sikhs with their separate ideology, history and unique identity which enabled them to rule. It is because of this that whenever anyone insults the Saroop, the principles or the Gurus of the Sikhs, he invariably gets a pat from the state or the central governments. The rise of the pakhandis like Narakdharis, Nurmehlias and many others who hurt the Sikh principals and sentiments can only be ascribed to this. The Sirsa creature is only part of this pattern.
One last thing. Can the Sikhs find a way to remain alive as Sikhs? The answer is that they will have to remain conscious and resolute about their history and principles. They must stick to their unique Rehat and conduct, and must ensure that in their land of birth the Punjab, the laws must be in consonance with the philosophy of Guru Granth Sahib and Sikh principles so that the Sikhs can live like Sikhs should. Many Sikhs think that with the Sirsa dera head seeking apology, being arrested or dying, the issue will end. But this is only a miniscule part of the larger issues being faced by the Sikhs. The key problems of the Sikhs will remain as long as they do not become the arbiters of their own existence. They may have to witness more rounds of 1947, 1966, 1978, 1984. The slaves do not breathe easily. They haven’t done so in history. When anyone can get up and insult the Guru of the Sikhs, and the Sikhs start holding dharnas, then be clear about the inference. Raaj bina na dharma chale hain…
The medieval ages had a proverb – the might is right. The core of this wisdom hasn’t changed in modern times. If Punjab had been ruled as per the Sikh philosophy and principles, then anyone insulting the Gurus would have been extended the same treatment as Chandu was meted by the Guru of Miri-Piri. Then we would not have been spilling out on the roads to seek justice. Then we would not have been facing sedition cases. The ever rising fencing around the Salabatpura dera only signifies our political slavery.
(The author is Senior Vice President of Shiromani Akali Dal-Amritsar)

Escaping the Dragnet: New Tactics of Dera Sauda

The day Bathinda court issued warrants to arrest Gurmeet Ram Rahim, Dera Chief in an emergency meeting gave a call to his followers to sacrifice their life for his love ( prem). In his official statement he accused some anti-social elements for terrorizing his followers to peacefully assemble for religious ceremonies. He regretted that it was in sharp contravention to freedom provided in the Indian constitution. Anti-social elements terrorizing Premis he referred to were obviously Sikhs who felt insulted at the mockery of supreme sacrifice of tenth Guru Gobind Singh. Commanding a considerable influence at Government levels at the center and the state, Dera chief succeeded in getting Z Plus security, mostly a prerogative of high profile government officials and political stalwarts.. It is believed that Z Plus status considerably helped in salvaging the waning charisma of Gurmeet Ram Rahim’s stature as a self-styled Guru. But what seems out of the reach of the Dera Mukhi is the control of judicial system. Hysterical reactions look to have marked Gurmeet Ram Rahim’s behavior when cases in various courts are taken up for hearing. It is followed by an appeal to his followers to save deteriorating humanity.
Unexpected move of delivering a letter of apology to DGMC chief Parmjit Singh Sarna and a sealed copy to Akal Takht Jathedar Vedanti, arouse many speculations about Gurmeet Ram Rahim’s latest tactics to walk out of the legal wrangling. Sarna claims the credit for forcing Gurmeet Ram Rahim to tender apology to Sikh Sangat. It is not clear who entrusted Sarna to have parleys with excommunicated leader. As a matter of fact, Dera closely monitored Bathinda court decision of arrest warrants against him, and then prepared to deal with the situation at political, official and religious levels. At the political level, Dera Mukhi activated Congress sympathizers to influence Haryana Government to skirt the judicial warrants in public interest and peace. He also asked Punjab Congress to come forward in his support; since Rajinder Kaur Bhattal owes to Dera Mukhi a seat in Vidhan Sabha, she accused Sikhs of witch-hunting premis . At the official level, Dera is trying to invoke fundamental rights provided for citizens under the Indian constitution. And at the religious level, he has already asked premis to shed their blood for their Guru. He claimed that by puncturing his finger he had given his blood to his followers, instead of first taking theirs. Having enacted the rituals, Dera Chief has openly given a call to all his followers to reach Sirsa for a legendary show of strength and unity to ward off any attempt to arrest him.
Haryana Government’s preparedness to tackle the situation after Bathinda Court’s orders indicates that law and order problem will be its priority. Premis are pouring in Sirsa from different states to thwart their leader’s arrest. They have been asked to sacrifice their life for love of humanity and freedom of conscience.
The third apology by dera chief has again started the heat that was believed to have cooled down. Should Akal Takht reconsider its edict in view of the fresh development? Who authorized the DSGMC chief to prevail on Dera Mukhi to tender apology? Accepting belated apology will mean withdrawing cases of blasphemy registered against him in different police stations. Will Sikh Sangat be prepared to take these steps? Withdrawal of cases will render court warrants ineffective. The fact that apology came immediately after court orders is evidence enough of Dera Mukhi’s opportunism and insincerity. Dera Mukhi obviously wants to divide Sikhs through his sympathizers in Congress, Akalis and panthic groups. The court orders to arrest Baba seemed to have caused turmoil in central and state agencies. Badal government might be under pressure to choose between his government and Gurmeet Ram Rahim’s arrest. The hobnobbing of Sarna at the behest of Center government is a clear signal of a secret bargain at the political level. The center keeps reminding Badal as to who is in the driving seat. Badal will have no choice except to toe Congress government’s line for saving his government and his leadership.
The fall out of the whole mess is that political parties are dealing with Sikhs’ problems for carving niche for themselves. The core of the problem has not been addressed. The controversy should have disturbed Sikh intellectuals to come forward with concrete policy to get such directions from Akal Takht as to end troubles in future. It is not Dera Sauda alone that embarrasses Sikhs; numerous others are using Sikh scriptures to establish their personal seminaries in flagrant violation of Gurmat principles. Tenth Guru’s edict is unambiguous in this regard. Sikhs have been commanded to treat Guru Granth Sahib as living Guru and the Khalsa as vigilantes. Sects not believing in authority of Guru Granth Sahib have no right to use Gurbani and Sikh symbols in their Deras. The edict from Akal Takht in this respect can end confrontations with Dera Mukhis; because when Dera sects stop using Sikh symbolism and scriptures, they are free to believe in anything they want The Khalsa Chetna March on June 24, 2007 succeeded in drawing Sikhs from all walks of life. The fact that it remained peaceful, and on the target might have upset DSGMC Chief Parmjit Singh Sarna and SGPC chief Avtar Singh Makkar. Heads of two religious bodies have shown that they failed in providing policies that could remove irritants in relationships of Sikhs with other religious organizations. People’s overwhelming participation in the Khalsa Chetna March is an indication of the fact that Dera’s controversy cannot easily be put on the back burner. Delhi and Chandigarh governments are looking for only politically convenient ways to keep the fires burning so that they could bake their cake and eat it too.
Dera controversy is an issue of Sikhs’ betrayal and a systematic interference in the practice of their faith. Governments should have encouraged Sikh organizations to come forward with a religious solution and warned Deras Sauda not to encroach on forbidden territories.
The issue of apology has long lost religious importance. The third apology is nothing other than a political ploy to evade Dera Mukhi’s arrest and divide Sikh ranks. It is a political stratagem to confuse and confound religious leaders.
Before Jathedar Vedanti is back from his trip abroad, delegates of SGPC, DSGMC, Sant Samaj, Panthic organizations should meet again to consider all aspects apology and give written representation to Akal Takht Jathedar. By adopting a minimum program, there won’t be any room for Jathedar Vedanti to go out of the mandate of the majority. The genuine apology spontaneously springs from the bottom of a repentant heart and needs no mediation for expression. Dera chief’s words “ I cannot think of copying Guru Gobind Singh” is a flat refusal to admit his mistake. In the wake of a call to his followers to counter ‘anti-social elements’ (Dera’s words for Sikhs), administering of Jaam-e-Insa again and again, and invoking political interference in his support,
Gurmeet Ram Rahim’s apology is not only meaningless but also a mockery of Sikh sentiments. Jathedar may be advised to defer his decision on apology until Gurmeet Ram Rahim is arrested. Sikhs in general and leaders in particular deserve to be congratulated for peaceful demonstrations. Peaceful and orderly marches can have greater effect on people. Sikhs should also respect difference of opinions without losing sight of greater good. The path to negotiations should never be given up even if nothing appears emerging out of it.

Gurmeet Ram Rahim gets bail

CHANDIGARH: Two days after the Akal Takht rejected the fresh apology of the Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmit Ram Rahim, the murder accused self-styled holyman currently the cause of anger among Sikhs, was granted interim bail by the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Friday, just a day after the Punjab Government gave a go ahead to the police to arrest him in a case of hurting religious sentiments.

Earlier on Friday the Dera had moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court seeking quashing of the Bhatinda court's non-bailable arrest warrant against its head Gurmeet Ram Rahim. The decision by the Bhatinda court came in the wake of the Punjab government giving sanction for arrest and prosecution of the Dera Sacha Sauda head.
Earlier in the day, the sect's spokesman Aditya Arora had said that the "sect will either seek anticipatory bail for the Dera chief or quashing of the June 20 order of the Duty Magistrate A L Khitchi, who had issued conditional bailable arrest warrant against the Dera chief". Meanwhile, there are reports that fissures are emerging within the Dera Sauda over the matter of apology and one faction is advising against enraging the entire Sikh community and wants the Dear Head to issue a clear, candid and truthful apology. Also, the loyalists and kin of two of the jailed followers of Gurmeet Ram Rahim, Avtar Singh and Babu Indersen, are worried that Gurmeet Ram will leave them in a lurch.
Reacting on the High Court's directive, Bathinda police chief Naunihal Singh said that "police is awaiting for detailed orders of the High Court and once they are received it will act accordingly."
Issuing the warrant returnable on July 1, the Bhatinda court had stipulated that the police seek the permission of the state government for prosecuting Gurmeet Ram Rahim. The clearance by the Punjab government to arrest the Dera head came after the Akal Takht, the supreme temporal seat of Sikhs, rejected a fresh "apology" by the Dera Sacha Sauda chief for allegedly denigrating Sikh Guru Gobind Singh.
The Dera chief had invited the ire of Akal Takht for allegedly dressing like Sikh Guru Gobind Singh and his action sparked violent protest by Sikhs across Punjab last month.

Punjab govt hardens stand against dera chief

CHANDIGARH: Punjab government has hardened its stand towards dera Sacha Sauda even as Punjab and Haryana High Court on Friday granted interim bail to dera chief Gurmit Ram Rahim Singh.
Punjab and Haryana High Court has granted interim bail to Gurmit Ram Rahim Singh till August 6, few hours after the formal orders of Punjab government granting sanction to arrest the dera chief reached to Bathinda police.
Bathinda police was awaiting state government nod to arrest the dera Chief after the court of Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate had issued arrest warrants of dera Chief with a rider that state government permission would be required before police executing the arrest warrants.
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today defended the state government action and stated said "nobody is above law and the state government is working well within the ambit of law". Chief Minister aid that "nobody is above law".
About the accusations of Dera and Congress leadership in Punjab that "excesses" were being allegedly committed against "the Dera followers, the Chief Minister said "no one can claimany excesses committed against anyone."
A case was registered against Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh for allegedly attiring in a dress to look alike Guru Gobind Singh in newspaper advertisements issued on May 13. A clash between dera followers and Sikhs had taken place in Bathinda on May 14.
The Sikh clergy had issued edict for social, religious and political boycott of dera chief and his followers on May 17 at a Sikh conclave in Talwandi Sabo. The Akal Takht had also rejected two apologies tendered by dera. The Sikh clergy has described dera chief arrogant as he had addressed the apology to Guru Gobind Singh and issued it in the form of apress note.
The Akal Takht has called a Sikh convention in Ratia in Haryana on July. However, it is learnt that Haryana government has decided not to grant permission for the Sikh conclave.

Sarna to continue member of Khalsa Action Committee

FATEHGARH SAHIB: Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) president Paramjit Singh Sarna will continue to work as member of Khalsa Action Committee.

The members of the Khalsa Action Committee (KAC), which held a meeting at Gurdwara Fatehgarh Sahib requested Sarna to continue as member of the committee.
When contacted on phone Sarna confirmed the development. He admitted that KAC members requested him on phone to contiune as member of the committee and he accepted their request as he want to make his contribution. He said that he earlier refused to work as Chairman of KAC as it was not possible for him to attend every meeting of the committee.
Though most of members which attended meeting at Gurdwara Sir Fatehgarh Sahib refused to disclose the details of meeting but according to sources during the meeting it was decided to re-constitute KAC to intensify their agitation against the Dera Sacha Sauda chief .
As expected the members of Sant Samaj participated in today’s meeting. The meeting continued till late in the evening. Some of the members, who appeared to be demoralised after the meeting, maintained that though some important decisions had been taken in the meeting, but the details could not be revealed to the media.
However, sources within the KAC disclosed that the committee had decided to meet the chief minister of both Punjab and Haryana soon to intensify their agitation against the issue of Dera chief’s arrest. Besides, the KAC also decided to hold a series of protest marches soon in those sources, which have strong following of Dera , the sources said. Sources said that the KAC also approved the rejection of Dera’s apology by the Akal Takht, the sources said.
During the meeting , some members criticized Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal for his role in the Dera row.
Sources said that some of the Sikh hardliners were planning to hold another meeting later tonight to review the deliberations that were held during the meeting.

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