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Then & now

In 2002, three Dera Sacha Sauda followers were arrested for allegedly murdering a Sirsa-based journalist. And now, Sikhs in Punjab took offence, leading to violent protests.

india Updated: May 19, 2007 00:44 IST

Controversies then....

In 2002, three Dera Sacha Sauda followers were arrested for allegedly murdering a Sirsa-based journalist, Ram Chander Chhatterpati. Later the same year, two more followers of the Dera were held in another murder case, that of former Dera leader Ranjit Singh. Singh himself had quit the sect in controversial fashion over an anonymous letter alleging sexual exploitation of women inmates of the Dera. The CBI is probing both cases.

And now....

The current controversy is over Dera head Sant Gurmeet Singh Ram Rahim purportedly dressing up like Guru Gobind Singh, the 10th Sikh guru, at a public function as well as on newspaper advertisements published on Sunday. Sikhs in Punjab took offence, leading to violent protests that have spread to other states in the last four days. The Dera holds that there is “no prescribed dress code or pictographic evidence that a certain style of apparel was donned by any particular saint”.