Dera chief offers to apologise | india | Hindustan Times
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Dera chief offers to apologise

india Updated: Apr 20, 2009 01:12 IST

Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmit Ram Rahim Singh on Sunday offered to submit a fresh apology to Akal Takht, the highest temporal seat of the Sikhs, for appearing in public dressed like Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh Guru, provided a prior negotiated settlement was reached between the two sides.

“The dera (sect) is willing and ready to take an initiative to resolve the issue amicably in the interest of peace and social harmony,” the sect head told HT. He, however, said, “ But, they (the Sikh clergy) should not insist on my appearance at Akal Takht alone and without my devotees…”

His conciliatory gesture has come less than three weeks ahead of the Lok Sabha elections in which the dera’s support has emerged as a key factor.

With a substantial following in the Malwa region, the dera could well be a decisive factor in at least six constituencies.

The sect chief, facing three CBI cases — one of rape and two of murder — is trying to buy peace with the Sikh clergy in the backdrop of a tense stand-off with radical Sikh bodies, which want the Akal Takht edict against the dera enforced. Last year, the Akal Takht had called for the social boycott of the dera chief and his followers after he appeared in public dressed like Guru Gobind, leading to clashes between his followers and Sikhs.