The Dera Sacha Sauda in a statement late on Sunday evening tendered “an apology to Guru Gobind Singh”, the tenth guru of the Sikhs, saying its chief never had any intention of imitating him.
In a carefully-worded written statement, the Dera said that the sequence of events of the last few days was a matter of concern and extremely regrettable. “Regret has been expressed earlier for this. Still we want to apologise to Guru Gobind Singh in the interests of humanity,” the statement said.
A week earlier, the sect had expressed regret for the “misunderstanding” caused by an advertisement that featured Dera chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh dressed like Guru Gobind Singh. The photograph was strongly objected to by various Sikh organisations and had led to violent clashes between them and Dera followers.
The Akal Takht and other Sikh organisations had rejected the earlier expression of regret. It has to be seen if Sunday’s apology will satisfy them.
The apology came after the government intervened. Top Punjab and Haryana officials along with central representatives, including Haryana Director General of Police Ranjeev Dalal, held several rounds of talks with the Dera team led by its vice-chairman Prithvi Raj Nain.
The government intervened when it found positions hardening on both sides. “We could not have remained passive and allowed the situation to become explosive,” a senior state government officer told HT.