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HindustanTimes Fri,11 Jul 2014

Radhasoami sect reaches out to radical Sikh leaders

Harjinder Sidhu and Gurpreet Singh Mehak, Hindustan Times  Bathinda/Fatehgarh Sahib, November 10, 2012
First Published: 00:26 IST(10/11/2012) | Last Updated: 00:32 IST(10/11/2012)

In a significant development, the spiritual head of Dera Radhasoami Satsang Baba Gurinder Singh Dhillon on Friday reached out to radical Sikh leaders Simranjit Singh Mann and Baljit Singh Daduwal as part of his initiative to amicably resolve the controversy over demolition of a gurdwara at Waraich village near Beas in Amritsar district.

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While Dhillon and Mann met one-on-one at Sikandarpur village near Sirsa, where the Radhasoami sect owns farm lands, the sect chief paid a visit to Daduwal at the latter's religious headquarters at Dadu village in Bathinda district. Before his closed-door meeting with Daduwal that lasted two hours, Dhillon paid obeisance at the Dadu sect's gurdwara.

Friday's surprise meetings underscored the fact that the Radhasoamis, a pacifist and non-controversial sect with a huge following across the country, have opened direct channels with Sikh radicals to resolve the simmering Waraich gurdwara issue. The row erupted a few months ago when the Radhasoami sect purchased a chunk of land at Waraich adjacent to its headquarters at Beas, and demolished a gurdwara after reverentially relocating Guru Granth Sahib.

While the Sikh clergy and the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) had cleared the Radhasoami sect of the charges of sacrilege and causing hurt to the Sikh sentiments, holding that a non-historical gurdwara can be razed and relocated, radicals, however, rejected the Akal Takht verdict and kept up their rant against the sect. Led by Akal Takht Sewak Jatha - a conglomerate of hardliner Panthic bodies - they have been campaigning to rebuild the gurdwara.

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