Mystery still prevails over dera chief’s ‘apology letter’ | punjab | Hindustan Times
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Mystery still prevails over dera chief’s ‘apology letter’

Giani Gurbachan Singh had, while announcing the pardon on September 24, 2015, had said they had received a letter from representatives of the dera.

punjab Updated: Sep 04, 2017 22:31 IST
Surjit Singh
The apology letter allegedly sent by Sirsa dera chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim to the Akal Takht.
The apology letter allegedly sent by Sirsa dera chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim to the Akal Takht.(HT Photo\)

Even as two years have passed since the Sikh clergy issued a pardon to Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim — and later backtracked — the row over the move refuses to die down. Now that the dera head has been sentenced to 20 years in jail in a rape case, there remains a mystery over the “apology letter” purportedly sent by him to the Akal Takht, the highest temporal seat of Sikhism, for his act of reportedly imitating the tenth Sikh master, Guru Gobind Singh.

Questions were ignited by the then head of Takht Damdama Sahib — one of the five Sikh temporal seats— Giani Gurmukh Singh who claimed that the then chief minister Parkash Singh Badal called him along with Giani Gurbachan Singh, head of Akal Takht, and the then Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib jathedar Giani Mal Singh at his residence in Chandigarh.

The CM’s son and the then deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal, who is president of the Shiromani Akali Dal that controls the Sikh ‘mini-parliament SGPC, was present too. “We were shown a letter written in Hindi issued by the dera chief. We were not prepared to take some decision in hurry on that letter. So, we didn’t bring the letter with us,” he claimed.

Giani Gurbachan Singh had, while announcing the pardon on September 24, 2015, had said they had received a letter from representatives of the dera.

Gurmukh Singh, who was sacked from the Damdama Sahib headship after levelling allegations against the Badals on this matter, maintained that he did not know who took the letter to the Akal Takht and who produced it in Punjabi. Meanwhile, Giani Gurbachan Singh said the letter was submitted by any unknown person at the Akal Takht secretariat in routine. “The secretariat staff considered it as ordinary letter, otherwise the letter would have been issued a receipt letter and the identity of the submitter been known,” he said.

Anyhow, the pardon had been taken back within days, after backlash from within the Sikh community.