The controversy over the attack on Namdhari sect chief Thakur Udai Singh in Leicester, United Kingdom, has deepened following different versions coming in from the followers in India and the UK.
Members of the sect in the UK, in an e-mail sent to Hindustan Times, identified the Sikh youth who carried out the murderous attack on Sunday as Harjit Singh.
In a telephonic conversation with HT from the UK, a Namdhari follower said, "Harjit Singh is the son of Joginder Singh, younger brother of Swaran Singh who owns Toor farm near Phillaur in Punjab and is now settled in Leicester, UK. Owing to business differences with his uncle, Harjit Singh wanted to take revenge on him, thus he planned an attack on Udai Singh, who was at the time staying with his uncle, a Namdhari follower."
The follower said Harjit used to be a Namdhari who had become a Nihang and was trained in martial arts. "The accused attacked Udai Singh with an axe weighing 15 kg. Surprisingly, there was no security at the time of the incident. When nabbed by the people after the attack, Harjit pointed to the security lapse saying he had been sent by Udai Singh's own men," claimed the follower.
However, Surinder Singh Namdhari, the spokesperson of the sect from Bhaini Sahib, said, "The person who attacked Udai Singh has not yet been identified and the police are investigating the case. However, Udai Singh is out of danger, has been discharged from the hospital and is convening kirtan as per schedule."
Meanwhile, International Namdhari Sangat called upon the central and Punjab governments to send a representation to the UK government to conduct a high-level inquiry into the case.
Hanspal writes to PM
Namdhari Darbar, Bhaini Sahib, president HS Hanspal, in a letter to the Prime Minister, has requested him to direct the minister of external affairs to immediately provide all diplomatic assistance and security to Udai Singh in the UK to avoid any further untoward happening.
Hanspal, who has referred to Udai Singh as "Satguru Udai Singh, the supreme spiritual head of Namdhari Sikhs", wrote that the incident had shattered the sentiments of the Namdharis in India and abroad.
Saying there was threat to Udai Singh from some sections in India, Hanspal urged the Prime Minister to direct the ministry of home affairs to make arrangements for providing adequate security to Udai Singh on his return to India.
Punjabi Sahit Akademi president Gurbhajan Singh Gill also condemned the attack, saying, "It is a sad and shameful incident. The Namdhari sect advocates peace and humanity, thus the person who carried out the attack should be brought to book."
Meanwhile, Bhaini Sahib, the headquarters of the Namdhari sect, was turned into a virtual fortress as police were deployed in heavy numbers fearing a clash between the supporters of the two rival groups.