The Dera Sacha Sauda’s apology to the 10th Sikh Guru Gobind Singh on Sunday, which has raised hopes of a settlement with the Akal Takht, was delayed by three days.
The Dera was ready to apologise on Thursday and even sent a draft to the Sarv Dharam Samanwaya Samiti, which was mediating in the peace negotiations. The talks fell through when the Samiti, headed by Swami Agnivesh, asked for a reference to the mediators’ role in the peace pact, sources said. The Dera did not respond favourably to this.
Besides, Dera negotiators were also reportedly upset with the manner in which the mediators prematurely released information.
“We were flooded with sharp responses from followers distressed by TV networks describing the apology as surrender even before a statement was issued,” a Dera manager said.
A highly placed state official, who was tracking the developments, said the talks fell through on Thursday evening just when the apology was being finalised.
Swami Agnivesh said they proposed changes to clarify who mediated in the peace process.
The apology “also contained words like apman ke zeher ka ghoot pekar ke hum kshama chahte hain. We wanted them to delete this, but they were reluctant. As for the premature release of information, we did not speak to anyone,” he said.
The Dera did not contact Swami Agnivesh after this. Its apology to Guru Gobind Singh later was largely due to the mediation of the Centre and state administration in Haryana through multiple channels.
The words apmaan ka zeher were also dropped from the final statement. Congress MLA from Bhatinda Harminder Singh Jassi, whose daughter is married to Dera chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh’s son, was also seen at the Dera headquarters frequently.
Meanwhile, the Sarv Dharam Samanwaya Samiti will meet the Sikh clergy at Amritsar at 9 a.m. on Tuesday to urge them to accept the Dera’s apology.
Swami Agnivesh and others, who left Delhi for Amritsar on Monday afternoon, told the Hindustan Times over phone that the Akal Takht should accept the apology in the interest of peace.
Meanwhile, senior police officers reviewed law and order at regular intervals as security around religious shrines and the Sirsa-based sect’s centres in the state was further beefed up.