Sikh clergy consider Dera apology
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Home / India News / 2007 / May 2007 / May 28, 2007
Sikh clergy to consider Dera apology at a two-day meet
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Dera Sacha Sauda

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Sikh clergy to consider Dera apology at a two-day meet

A top religious body of the Sikhs Akal Takht on Monday said that it would discuss the apology tendered by Dera Sacha Sauda sect for sacrilege by its leader Gurmeet Ram Raheem Singh, during its two-day meeting beginning on Tuesday.

Amritsar/ Bhatinda/Chandigarh/ Sirsa, May 28 : A top religious body of the Sikhs Akal Takht on Monday said that it would discuss the apology tendered by Dera Sacha Sauda sect for 'sacrilege' by its leader Gurmeet Ram Raheem Singh, during its two-day meeting beginning on Tuesday.

The sect on Sunday tendered an apology to diffuse the situation, saying, "In the best interest of peace and tranquillity, the Dera Sacha Sauda tenders an apology to Guru Gobind Singh."

However, Takht leader Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti said he had not received any communication from the Dera.

"We are yet to receive any letter of apology, any fax. All we know about the apology is what we read in the newspapers. In any case, the five senior Sikh priests will meet tomorrow and on the 30th. We will discuss the matter at length and let you know the decision," he said.

The apology came on the day, the deadline given by Sikh clergy to the Dera sect to vacate its camps across Punjab ended.

Several Sikh organisations have however, expressed dissatisfaction, pointing the apology should have been directed to the clergy and not to 17th century Sikh guru, Guru Gobind Singh.

"He (Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh) is responsible for all the recent unrest in Punjab . Indian law provides for arrest of those who hurt religious sentiments. It is simple- it is religious leaders of the Sikh faith that he has to apologise to," Paramjit Singh Sarna, a top Sikh leader from New Delhi told reporters here.

However, the Dera apology has been welcomed across Punjab, especially the business community that incurred losses through a fortnight of shutdowns and riots.

Many in Bhatinda were seen distributing sweets to public, to express relief at what they perceive as return of peace in the state.

"We are happy that the religious leader from Sirsa has tendered an apology. This does not make him smaller. At lease the standoff within the Sikh community will cool down now," said Vijay Kumar, a Bhatinda resident.

Meanwhile, Chandigarh High Court has directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to submit its reports on cases against Dera and its leader by July 31.

Ram Rahim Singh and his aides were charged in a case of murder and sexual abuse.

Clashes between Sikhs and the sect erupted on May 14, a day after an advertisement appeared in local newspapers showing the sect's leader dressed up as Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh guru.

The Sikhs took offensive of it terming it as "sacrilege". Skirmishes between rival groups flared into mob violence when the Akal Takht, the highest Sikh religious body, urged followers to boycott the sect.

Dera Sacha Sauda, which has thousands of followers, says it is a social organization that believes in the oneness of god and does not adhere to a particular faith, though its leader wears a turban and has a long beard in the Sikh style.

ANI

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