Alleging a political conspiracy, the Dera Sacha Sauda on Thursday accused Sikh leaders of attempting to keep Punjab aflame and preventing the return of normalcy despite three apologies tendered for the alleged “blasphemous incident” of the imitation of Guru Gobind Singh’s attire by the sect’s chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.
"Masses are being instigated in the name of religion and the incumbent Akali Dal government’s role in the matter is suspected," Dera chief spokesman Dr Aditya Insan said. Terrors and traumas of sect adherents, he said, had increased manifold because of the forcible conversions of Dalits and Hindus.
False cases were being registered against Dera supporters, their religious meetings were being increasingly obstructed and even the cremation functions were being disallowed, Insan said at a press conference.
Talking about Tuesday’s clash in Haryana, during which Dera follower Jit Singh allegedly opened fire; Insan said this was a case of an "individual aberration". Substantially, the Dera supporters have remained peaceful, he said. Jit Singh's wife Sukhbir Kaur - also present at the meet - claimed that the firing was done in "self-defence".
"Does your philosophy and teaching permit oppression and torture of such magnitude that innocent beings are compelled to take the extreme step of self immolation", is the question asked in Dera’s open letter addressed to the 10th Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh. The letter was released at a press conference on Thursday.
"We have apologised to Guru Gobind Singh, Sikh Sant Samaj and the Guru Panth - show us any individual or organisation that is greater than Guru Gobind Singh”. This was Insan’s retort to suggestions that the Dera head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh should tender an apology before the Akal Takht – the highest temporal seat of the Sikhs.
Insan emphasised that the apologies had been tendered in view of the Dera’s desire to prevent the spread of misunderstanding and unrest between communities and not because the Dera Chief had actually committed “blasphemy” by donning an attire similar to that worn by Guru Gobind Singh. We appeal to the president, the prime minister and the people of the country to take note of the situation," he said.
The social boycott of Dera followers is leading to a division within families, said Dera’s women wing president Himani Insaan.