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Dera Sacha Sauda's Attack On Sikhism Through An Advertisemen


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Yeh it seems to be cooling down despite the Damdama jathedar stating the leader should be assasinated. oops! Baba Nihal Singh Harianvela and others have criticised this. Balbir Singh Jathedar has said that the authorities should sort it out. There is an FIR against the dera baba. The bandh yesterday was just jalandhar it seems.

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well, they've set two dates, one for all Ram Rahim deras to close by the end of may the other to review this. since that won't happen....tamasha. Plus someone pointed out on TV that this has always been the set up whenever there is a congress government and an Akali CM in Punjab. I guess this could be that 25 years loop thing Bhindranwale talked about. I'm starting to think this could really rocket if something stupid happens.

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Here is the latest news today from the Independent.

Article referred to:

The Independent (London)

May 21, 2007 Monday

Fourth Edition

SECTION: WORLD; Pg. 22

LENGTH: 748 words

HEADLINE: Cult leader sparks Sikh riots with 'guru' stunt

BYLINE: Jerome Taylor

BODY:

The Indian state of Punjab has been set alight by some of the worst rioting in a decade after a newspaper advert placed by the leader of a controversial religious sect sparked outrage in the region's Sikh community.

One person was killed and more than 50 were injured after tens of thousands of angry Sikhs, many brandishing their ceremonial kirpan daggers, went on the rampage across Punjab and the neighbouring state of Haryana.

India's Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, appealed for calm and put the army on standby as the central government sent thousands of police to the region.

The rioting broke out after the Dera Sacha Sauda sect, a nonprofit group that combines social work with spirituality, placed an advert in a local newspaper showing its leader, Baba Gurmeet Singh, allegedly impersonating Sikhism's 10th and last guru, an act most Sikhs would consider deeply offensive.

The advert appeared to show Gurmeet Singh administering a special nectar, known as Jaame-Insaan, to his followers while wearing the same long robes worn by the guru, Guru Gobind Singh - who was also known to baptise believers with nectar. Unlike Islam, where picturing the Prophet Mohamed is strictly forbidden, most Sikhs believe it is permissible to picture their gurus, and families often place a picture of the religion's founding father, Guru Nanak Dev, somewhere in their homes. But pretending to be a guru is strictly forbidden.

"Impersonating a Sikh guru always runs the risk of outraging even the most moderate of sikhs," says Jagtar Singh of the Sikh Federation's UK branch. "Even if our schoolchildren were putting on a play about the gurus, we would never get anyone to actually play the role of one.

"Most Sikh groups believe Guru Gobind Singh was the final guru. Some people have since claimed themselves to be living gurus, something which is deeply offensive to most Sikhs."

Gurmeet Singh insists he has done nothing wrong and has refused to apologise for the advert. "I wear whatever my followers give me to wear," he told the New Indian Express from his sect's headquarters in Sirsa, Haryana. "My robes can match anybody's. They don't indicate my inclination towards any particular religion. All religions are the same."

His supporters rejected accusations that he was trying to impersonate the guru. But yesterday police filed a complaint against the sect's leader for hurting religious sentiment, a charge often used in a country where religious differences regularly set off violence.

The Central Bureau of Intelligence, India's equivalent to the FBI, also says Gurmeet Singh is a prime suspect in the murder of an Indian journalist who accused the sect of brainwashing women and sexually assaulting them in 2002.

Many say the rapid response of India's government to the crisis shows their fears that the riots have transformed into a wider protest against what many Sikhs say is the way they are discriminated against by the government.

"The recent protests really have mushroomed into something much bigger," says Jagtar Singh, whose organisation campaigns for the creation of a Sikh homeland called Khalistan.

"There have already been incidents where protesters have been chanting the word 'Khalistan'. The feeling is that now is a good time to protest against the government over Sikh human rights. As long as it remains a political agitation for Sikh rights, we support that. When there is violence, we'll condemn it."

The sect leader

Whether he's dressed in bright, flowing robes reminiscent of an ancient maharaja, or in the white cloth of a wandering aesthetic, Baba Gurmeet Singh Ram Raheem, who spends much of his time living in a cave on his ashram, has always been a controversial figure. Although his organisation says it discourages donations his favourite mode of transport is a fleet of Mercedes cars, protected by up to 25 bodyguards.

In 2002, his sect was accused of brainwashing and sexually assaulting female followers. Gurmeet Singh, who prefers his acolytes to call him by his somewhat laborious full title Huzoor Maharaj Sant Gurmeet Ram Raheem Singh Ji, is currently being investigated by police over rape and murder allegations.

He recently clashed with the Punjab's state government after urging followers to vote for the Congress party, which forms the opposition there. But supporters say his message that all religions are equal attracts hundreds of thousands of genuine followers from low-caste Hindu families as well as from the region's Christian and Sikh communities.

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I like to share this interesting thought on peaceful protest off coursed backed by glorifying examples of shaheediyan of our guru's and khalsa soormae:

There was a time when peaceful protest ment sitting on a hot tava, or being boiled, having your head removed.

You compare that to picking up a sword. Now a days a gun, easy to kill an enemy without even seeing his face from affar, thats easy. Comming face to face with your enemy and still having the face of compassion of humality and of restraint, that is true strength.

That is the strength our Gurus led and left our legacy for. Sikh ithas is full of those examples. Lets hope we set examples here and not pages we would want ot skip over of Sikh history in the making.

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Does anyone know if there are clashes of views between Damdami Taksal Harsh stance on dera (ie- close all the dera by this date) and rest of khalsa panth ie- sant samaj, takth jathedars sahiban?

Media is saying - sri akaal takth sahib stance on closing all the dera's by may 27 is driven by damdami taksal singhs and leader- sant harnam singh dhuma? can anyone confirm that?

I personally think, sirsa dera has a right to practice their beleifs in their dera as long as they dont ridicule sikh maryada values, inst guru maharaj and twist gurbani to suit their own needs (especially anand sahib puri on sirsa).

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I also believe different groups have a right to practice their beliefs, eg. radhasoami. Although sirsa dera, imo, is testing sikhi and may be working with gov.

http://www.sikhsiyasat.com/default.html

Bhai Daljit Singh Bittu held press conference on dera issue at Patiala.

Patiala (21 May, 2007) Bhai Daljit Singh Bittu addressed a press conference here at Patiala and announced that program given by Sri Akaal Takhat Sahib is a unanimous program of all Sikh Organizations and it shall be carried on in a peaceful manner. Punjab Bandh call given by all Sikh Bodies under the leadership of Singh Sahibs shall be observed by the Sikh Masses. He said we do not want to create tense situation and state along with it’s agencies should consider this matter seriously and should not try to make the situation tense. He said act of sauda dera chief is not just a matter of dress controversy or of an advertisement, it is an attack on Sikh Identity and Sikh Principles. He said innocent people misguided by dera chief need not to fear. It is not in Sikh Traditions to harm the innocent, But the guilty shall be punished.

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Return of the Khalistanis

By Asit Jolly

A group of ageing Khalistanis, on Sunday, gave their blessings to the Bhujang Khalsa — a marjeevada or suicide squad that has been specially raised to implement the Akal Takht’s writ on shutting down more than a hundred Punjab-based centres belonging to the Dera Sacha Sauda.

Amidst suddenly louder than ever before "Khalistan Zindabad!" slogans, the new-generation Sikh nationalists chalked grim strategies to carry out the task assigned to them — preceded by their kirpans (swords) the marjeevade will first use "gentle persuasion" to get Dera followers to distance themselves from their spiritual master, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh. And where this fails, they will employ "harsher steps." The marjeevade have vowed to "create terror in the minds of Dera followers." Egged on by their radical elders, the boys have already earmarked a chowk in Punjab’s Muktsar Town as the "cremation site" for the Sacha Sauda chief.

Condemned for more than a decade to a peripheral existence until last week, the separatist Khalistani fringe of Punjab is determinedly pushing its way back to the centre stage. The sectarian confrontation between Sikhs and the ten million strong Sacha Sauda sect has been marked by a disturbing revival of Khalistani rhetoric. Marginalised radicals, who were only occasionally heard and seen at Operation Bluestar anniversaries and the bhog ceremonies of their old comrades, are now orchestrating the building clamour for the Dera chief’s head.

All the way from Amritsar, Jalandhar, Ludhiana to Patiala, Mansa, Muktsar, Bhatinda and even in Jammu, Khalistanis can be seen leading the violent street protests against the purportedly sacrilegious acts of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh. And though the men and women they lead are no Khalistanis, they all willingly join in the separatist chorus amidst rising tempers and cleverly provocative cues from the radicals. Men like Harnam Singh Dhumma, Daljit Bittoo, Kanwar Pal Singh, Gurnam Bandala, Wassan Singh Zaffarwal, Atinder Pal Singh and Jasbir Singh Rode are suddenly visible, besides over-ground radicals of Simranjit Singh Mann and Bhai Ram Singh’s ilk. In Patiala, crowds of ordinary Sikhs shouted out their approval when the former MP and out-of-work Khalistani, Atinder Pal Singh promised that Sikhs would exact their revenge for the Dera chief’s insult to Guru Gobind Singh "on the edge of the khanda (a kind of large sword)."

Also hob-nobbing with the extremist constituency, the jathedar or head priest of the Sikh Takht Damdama Sahib, Balwant Singh Nandgarh publicly offered to weigh in pure gold, "the brave Sikh who brings back Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh’s head."

Both Nandgarh and Atinder Pal Singh’s proclamations dangerously echo the turbulent summer of 1978, when following the Akali-Nirankari clash at Chowk Mehta on Baisakhi day, Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale offered a similar bounty for the then Nirankari chief’s head. Two Sikhs, including Ranjit Singh who was later crowned Jathedar of the Akal Takht, actually carried out Bhindranwale’s bidding and assassinated Baba Gurbachan Singh in Delhi. What ensued for the next ten years is history.

And just as Bhindranwale had then proclaimed a young man gunned down by police near Amritsar as the first martyr of the holy war against the Indian state, Jathedar Nandgarh too named Kamaljit Singh — the man who died trying to storm the Sacha Sauda centre at Sunam last Thursday — as the "pratham shaheed" of the new "dharam yudh."

Kamaljit Singh’s funeral on Friday was attended by a galaxy of former Khalistanis, including the present Damdami Taksal chief, Harnam Singh Dhumma, Sikh Students Federation activist Daljit Singh Bittoo, Kanwar Pal Singh of the Dal Khalsa and many familiar faces from the puritanical Akhand Kirtani Jatha. Blinded by an obvious desire to teach the Dera a lesson for siding with Congress in the Assembly elections, the moderate Sikh leadership led by chief minister Parkash Singh Badal appears to have lost sight of the dangers a radical revival could pose not just to Punjab and the rest of the country, but even its own political future.

The new Khalistani nationalists are far smarter and significantly a lot more patient than they were known to be in the past. The current conflagration, for them, is only a means to the larger end. With the honour of no less a personage than Guru Gobind Singh at stake, the Badal government runs the very real risk of angering its traditional support base if it is perceived as acting even remotely contrary to the writ of the Akal Takht.

Aware of the huge opportunity such a situation offers them, the radicals — who are freely enlarging and interpreting the clergy’s successive verdicts — are looking to regain political space in pursuance of their eventual aim.

"You wait and watch. If things continue at the present pace, we will definitely grab a substantial majority in the SGPC elections two years from now," says Kanwar Pal Singh, a senior Amritsar-based functionary of the Dal Khalsa.

"This is a confrontation that will never end. Even if they do close down Sacha Sauda’s deras in Punjab, there will be trouble every time the sect attempts to hold a function here. And every time the true face of the Akali Dal will become exposed before the Sikhs," he said.

The imminent resurrection of the Khalistani fringe is understandably worrying many who witnessed the violent Eighties and Nineties in Punjab.

"This is not at all a good trend," says former Punjab police chief K.P.S. Gill. But in his opinion it is all a predictable consequence of the fact that successive governments at Chandigarh and Delhi "have been overly lenient in dealing with remnant Khalistani elements."

The retired super cop insists that the only way out is for the Centre and the state to take tough action. "Sikhs have never been known to display a mob mentality and if tackled in time, it will not at all be difficult to control the problem," he said, suggesting in remedy, "a few no-nonsense lathicharges to dispel any doubts that the government knows its business."

Failing the firm hand that Mr Gill is advocating Punjab could very easily slide right back into the nightmarish Eighties.

Besides the scores of Sacha Sauda followers that are already beginning to flee Punjab in fear of becoming targets, the sight and sound of naked swords and threatening slogans is also giving root to apprehensions amidst Hindus and other communities.

http://www.asianage.com/presentation/leftn...halistanis.aspx

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Stupidity on both sides.. what kind of a 'peaceful' or 'loving' message is this dera dude preaching when he doesn't even have the strength to say he's sorry for the benefit of the greater good.. the dera dude will probably get a free pass and retirement package to live in a foriegn country while the braindead and the poor kill each other.. shows u the value of human life in the 'Land of Dharma'..

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There may have been stupidity on both sides, but the provocation has come from one side only.

I see Ravan kps gill has revealed his remedy to the problem , just a few lathicharges will solve the problem...

Reminds me of some bloke from mumbai way by the name of amitabh bachan, when in the early 80s he advised the then indrasur to " drop a few bombs here and there and that will sort the sikhs out"...

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'interesting' experience :LOL: notice how he proclaims 'Guru Sab spoke through my body' when he allegedly cursed at Makarji and Vedantiji... uh oh! beadbi alert! beadbi alert! someone beat up this kid immediately! He's claiming he is Guru sab and that it gives him the audacity to openly curse leaders of Akal Takhat!

All joking aside this seems to be quite normal, i.e. Sikhs claiming they are the Gurus when cursing or beating up other Sikhs to put them on the 'right path'... is this/should this be acceptable? What should be done to this boy? Should he be allowed to claim such things? What if ram rahim singh said the same? Will him saying this be ignored the same way this kid is doing on the internet (that too directly aiming at Sikhs since its posted on a Sikh forum) for all Sikhs to read?

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sorry for posting so much, but here's a bit from ASB's link...

"yesterday afternoon -- zeenews said

due to heavy mob at xyz place, police placed curfew

they also shown videos, wth a live tag,

wth burnin tires & all

same time i taked to my cozen on phone

who said theres nothin wrong in th xyz place

as he was there himself, that mae me really tensed

so its very important to study the matter in detail

things r really goin wth some big controversy behind

what we r seeing on tv, we r believing

dont forget that media is also in hands of GOVT."

don't know if it's true. but chilling if it is.

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Quoting directly from the link: "me and my friend jumped into the railing with our swords and i just see the makar and guru sab ji said to him using my body that oye makra tera sir la dena hai and same things to vedanti."

What if the deradude reads about this? Tomorrow he can claim it was Guru Gobind Singh's spirit that took over his body, made him wear the pretty clothes and make the Sharbat. Surely he should be hated because he's a rapist and what not.. but how do u know this sarabpreet character is any better?

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I think many are so busy condemning the Sikhs " "somewhat" " understandable anger, that we are forgeting what a grotty organisation this dera really is.

I feel the real issues are being covered up by the less important clothes issue. The organisation claims to be non-politcal yet has given full support to congress, members of whom were said to be present at the initial violent protests by dera members re the burning of their leaders effigy (hmmm Delhi 1984 comes to mind).

This video gives some more facts into the dera's activities:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5o21Wroeodk&NR=1

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DIVe8CZI1ek

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Let's assume the following is true: Politics is a dirty business, politicians are liars, and the SAD is no better or worse than Congress or the BJP party.

Shaheediyan, how is any dera or institution endorsing a certain party or candidate any different than what happens in a more developed country? When the leaders of blacks in America are known to ALWAYS endorse Democrats and the white Evangelical Christians ALWAYS endorse Republican? Both groups pledge their alliances OPENLY in their respective churches!! You don't see the whites burning Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson's effigies do you? This is after all what democracy and freedom of speech is all about isn't it?

I would agree with u however about this being nothing about the 'respect for Guru Gobind Singh' but entirely about politics and mixing it with religion to cause chaos.

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Fateh Singh Ji, I wasn't questioning the dera or their leaders freedom to vote, I was simply pointing out that they are liars and hypocrites, as their website clearly claims:

"Dera Sacha Sauda did not have any connection with politics. Neither Dera Sacha Sauda has any connection today, nor will have in the future ever. There are no confusions of Vote and Money either."

I don't think this is simply "only" about politics, we would be very ignorent to assume that. This is a culmination of issues... including politics, rape, murder, lies, inciting religous trouble, hooligan/thug dera supporters to name but a few things.

A SADHVI's letter to PMO has been reproduced from Spokesman Weekly

dated December, 2002.

Shri Atal Behari Vajpayee, Prime Minister New Delhi

I am a girl hailing from Punjab State. I have been serving as a 'Sadhwi' in 'Dera Sacha Sauda', Sirsa (Haryana) for the last five years. Beside me, there are hundreds of others girl here, who serve for 18 hours daily.

But we are sexually exploited here. The 'Dera Maharaj' Gurmit Singh rapes the girls in the 'dera'. I am a graduate. My family has blind faith in the 'Maharaj' (Gurmit Singh). It was at my family's bidding that I became a 'Sadhwi'. Two years after I became a 'Sadhwi', 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 film on the TV. Beside his pillow on the bed, lay a revolver. Seeing all this, I was frightened and became nervous. I had never imagined that Maharaj was a man of this type. Maharaj switched off the TV and seated me beside him. 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." When I asked if God also indulges in such acts, he shot back:

1. Sri Krishna too was God and he had 360 'gopis'(milkmaids) with whom he enacted 'Prem lila' (love drama). Even then people regarded him as God. So there is nothing to be surprised at it.

2.I can kill you with this revolver and bury you here.

The members of your family are my devoted followers and they have blind faith in me. You know it very well that members of your family cannot go against me.

3.I have considerable influence with governments also. Chief Ministers of Punjab and Haryana and central Ministers come to pay obeisance to me. Politicians take help from us. They cannot take any action against me. We will get the members of your family dismissed from govt. jobs and I will get them [bkilled by my 'Sewadars' (servants). We will leave no evidence of their murder. You know that earlier also we got the 'dera' Manager Fakir Chand killed by goondas. His murder remains untraced till this day. The 'dera' has a daily income of one crore rupees with which we can buy leaders, police and the judges.

After this, the Maharaj raped m. The Maharaj has been doing this with me for the last three years. My turn comes after every 25-30 days. Now I have learnt that before me too, the Maharaj had been raping the girls he had summoned. Most of these women are now 35 to 40 years old and they are past the age of marriage. They have no other option but to remain in the 'dera'.

Most of the girls are educated --- B.A., M.A., B.Ed, etc. But they are living a life of hell in the 'dera', simply because the members of their families have blind faith in the Maharaj. We wear white clothes, tie a scarf on the head, cannot even look at men and as per Maharaj's commands, talk with men from a distance of 5-10 feet. To the people we look like 'devis' (goddesses), but we are living like harlots. This time I tried to tell my family that all was not well at the 'dera'. But they rebuked me saying that there was no better place than the 'dera' for here they were in the company of God (Maharaj)They said that I had formed a bad notion about the 'dera' and that I should recite the name of 'Satguru'.I am helpless here because I have to obey every command of the Maharaj. No girl is permitted to talk with another. According to the commands of the Maharaj.

Girls are not permitted to talk to their families even on the telephone. If any girl talks about the reality of the 'dera', she is punished according to Maharaj's commands. Sometimes ago, a Bhatinda girl revealed the wrong doings of the Maharaj. At this, all the women disciples gave her a sound thrashing. Because of a fracture in the backbone, she is now bed-ridden. Her father gave up the service in the 'dera' and went home. For fear of the Maharaj and his own disgrace, he is not revealing anything.

Similarly, a Kurukshetra girl has also left the 'dera' and has gone home. When she narrated the events in the 'dera' to her family, her brother who worked in the 'dera' gave up his job. When a Sangrur girl left the 'dera', went home and narrated the wrong-doings in the 'dera' to the people, the dera's armed Sewadars/ hooligans reached the girl's house and threatened to kill her and warned her not to leak anything about the 'dera'.

Similarly girls from Mansa, Ferozepur, Patiala and Ludhiana districts are afraid of revealing anything about the 'dera'. Although they have left the 'dera', yet they do not say anything for fear of loosing their lives. Similarly, girls from Sirsa, Hissar, Fatehabad, Hanuman Garh and Meerutdisclose as to what happened to them in the 'dera'.

If I reveal my name,I and my family will be killed. I want to reveal this truth for the benefit of the common man, because I cannot bear all this tension and harassment. My life is in danger. If a probe is conducted by the press or some govt. agency, 40 to 50 girls living in the 'dera' will come forward to reveal the truth. We can also be medically examined to find out whether we are still celibate disciples or not. If we are no longer virgins,the matter should be gone into to find out who has violated our chastity.

The truth will then come out that Maharaj Gurmit Ram Rahim Singh of 'Sacha Sauda' has ruined our lives.

Source : Spokesman Weekly

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