As the polling for the assembly polls ended on Saturday, Akal Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh broke his silence on the newfound bonding between the Akali Dal and Dera Sacha Sauda, saying the ‘hukamnama’ issued against Sirsa-based dera in 2007 still stands. He also said the Akal Takht will seek a report from the SGPC to find out who all (Sikh leaders) had gone to meet the dera representatives in violation of the edict and the purpose of the visit.
Claiming that he was unwell and could not react to the reports earlier, the jathedar said, “My reaction is very clear. The past ‘hukamnama’ is very much intact and remains so till the ‘doshi’ (sinner) doesn’t apologise and he is pardoned.”
There was widespread criticism of the bonding between the dera and the Akali Dal, whose candidates from nine constituencies of Bathinda and Mansa districts attended a meeting organised by the dera’s religious wing at a banquet hall in Bathinda. The SAD went a step further and announced to facilitate satsangs of the dera head in Punjab despite the fact that the Akal Takht had called upon Sikhs for his social boycott.
- May 2007: The Akal Takht issues a ‘hukamnama’ (edict) against the Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, accusing him of blasphemy, calling upon Sikhs for his social boycott for ‘imitating’ Guru Gobind Singh.
- September 2015: The Akal Takht pardons the Dera Sirsa head.
- October 2015: After facing severe criticism from the panth, the Akal Takht revokes the pardon.
- February 2017: Akali leaders attend a dera event in Bathinda; dera assures support to SAD-BJP candidates and SAD promises to revive satsangs in Punjab.
The dera head, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, last held a congregation in Punjab in May 2007 at Salabtpura village in Bathinda, where he courted controversy by wearing an attire allegedly similar to that of Guru Gobind Singh, leading to issuance of the ‘hukamnama’ (edict) against him.
Giani Gurbachan Singh said any Sikh violating the ‘hukamnama’ irrespective of party affiliations is a ‘doshi’ and deserves action. “We will seek a report from the SGPC to know who went to the dera congregation and for what purpose,” he said.
Stressing that dera congregations will not be allowed in Punjab, the jathedar said, “I appeal to the sangat to be committed to the Akal Takht hukamnama.”
On another ‘order’ making rounds on the social media, urging people to boycott the SAD in the polls for aligning with the Dera Sacha Sauda, the jathedar said it was a fake. “This was done to mislead the people,” he said. It is learnt that, a case has also been registered against unidentified people with the cyber cell of the police in this regard.