Gurmeet Ram Rahim jailed: Deras deserted, premis keep fingers crossed
The 'premis' still have a grudge against the Sikh radical groups in the backdrop of the appeal by the Akal takht jathdear to them to embrace Sikhism.punjab Updated: Sep 11, 2017 12:58 IST
With no word from Dera Sacha Sauda’s Sirsa headquarters in the wake of the conviction and arrest of their sect head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in a rape case, dera followers in Punjab districts have their fingers crossed over the future of their faith.
All the eleven 'naam charcha' (prayer) centres in Bathinda district and other places has been under the watch of the Punjab Police, while the cult followers hesitatingly narrated their remorse and uncertainty. “There is no message from Sirsa so far. We do not know what is going to happen. We had planned to hold 'naam charcha' after the August 25 verdict, but there were not enough 'premis' due to the tension," said Paramjit Singh, a manager of dera complex on the city’s outskirts.
He introduced himself as Paramjit Singh instead of Paramjit Insan as he was earlier referred to.
“The faith will prevail, and we want Satguru ji to come back," he said, when asked whether they are waiting for a new face to lead the sect. At Dabwali town in Sirsa, adjacent to Bathinda, the local dera centre was guarded by six cops, including four policewomen. Three dera disciples there were quiet over what was happening.
“The faith will prevail, and we want Satguru ji to come back.”
Baldev Singh, a dera devotee, said with his voice choked, “I do not think the dera chief is at fault. People are not praying at centres anymore as they are scared. Pained, many followers are now removing their lockets.”
“Neither the administration nor the Sirsa dera has conveyed anything to us," he said, when asked about the fate of these dera centres.
Grudge against Sikh clergy
The 'premis' still have a grudge against the Sikh radical groups in the backdrop of the appeal by the Akal takht jathdear to them to embrace Sikhism.
“In many villages, gurdwara managers refused to give us utensils and beddings during the tension in 2007,” said Nachhattar Singh of Naseebpura village near Bathinda town. “As you can see, many have hidden their lockets of faith under their shirts to escape any altercation in public,” he lamented. In the absence of 'naam charcha', he said, the 'premis' are deprived of their faith.
Sec 144 at dera centre remains
Bathinda deputy commissioner Diprava Lakra said Section 144 will continue at these dera centres for an indefinite period in the wake of the search operations at the dera headquarters in Sirsa. “They can visit the deras but holding of congregation is not allowed," he said.