The International Namdhari Sangat (INS) has charged chief minister Parkash Singh Badal with "interfering" in the internal matters of Namdharis.
It has also refused to accept Thakur Udai Singh as next Satguru of the sect after the passing away of Satguru Jagjit Singh.
The INS is upset over the imposition of prohibitory orders in Bhaini Sahib to keep away the loyalists of the elder nephew of Satguru Jagjit Singh, Thakur Dalip Singh, who had declined to accept the "gaddi" (throne) in Sirsa on Friday and named Satguru's widow, Mata Chand Kaur, as his successor.
"I got a call from the police that all office-bearers of the INS should stay away from Bhaini Sahib on Sunday," said the INS chairman, Jaswinder Singh. "It is unfortunate that Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (prohibitory orders) was imposed in Bhaini Sahib for the first time since the British imperial rule, that too in the tenure of the Shiromani Akali Dal regime."
Gurmail Singh, another member of the INS, took on chief minister Badal. "On the one hand, the CM has asked the Congress not to interfere in the religious affairs of Sikhs, and on the other hand, he interferes in the internal matters of Namdharis," he said. "Badal should not instruct the administration to bar certain followers from entering the Namdhari headquarters."
Gurmail Singh also demanded that Thakur Dalip Singh be allowed to meet Thakur Udai Singh, Mata Chand Kaur, and Bibi Sahib Kaur (daughter of Satguru Jagjit Singh), as it would clear a lot of misunderstanding.
The INS criticised the former Congress state president and spokesman of Namdharis in Bhaini Sahib, HS Hanspal, for his statement that the Namdhari strictures didn't allow women to takeover as sect chief. "The sect gives equal powers and status to women," said the INS chairman, Jaswinder Singh. "Bibi Hukami was the Suba leader in the times of Satguru Ram Singh, while Bibi Surinder Kaur had this status in the times of Satguru Jagjit Singh. Hanspal is contradicting his statement, as while declaring Thakur Udai Singh Satguru's successor on December 13, he had said his coronation was on the orders of Mata Chand Kaur."
The INS chairman recalled that Satguru Jagjit Singh had given a coconut, a coin and his old clothes to Dr Iqbal Singh, a close associate, and asked him to hand these over to Thakur Dalip Singh, declaring him his successor. Now Dr Iqbal Singh also is not allowed to enter Bhaini Sahib.
Jaswinder Singh said his faction wanted to see Thakur Dalip Singh as next Satguru but had bowed before his orders to accept Mata Chand Kaur as next spiritual head.
No succession war: Thakur Dalip Singh
In a message sent to Hindustan Times, Thakur Dalip Singh denied there was any tussle for the sect's throne. "There is no succession war or any type of war between us brothers," he said. "I was never anxious to be successor, nor am I now. How can, therefore, be a war of succession?"
The sangat wanted to see his as successor, which he had refused, said Thakur Dalip Singh. "I have tried to change Sangat's point of view but they do not agree. I have accepted Mata Chand Kaur as next Satguru and requested the followers to do the same, as she is Sarvoch (above all) after Satguru Jagjit Singh," he added.
When asked about the reason for not including the name of Thakur Udai Singh in ardas, the sect's spokesman, HS Hanspal said Namdharis never referred to the living Satguru in the ardas, and Thakur Udai Singh had succeeded Satgturu Jagjit Singh.