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HindustanTimes Sun,23 Nov 2014

Namdharis begin hunger strike in Ludhiana

Anshu Seth, Hindustan Times  Ludhiana, August 02, 2014
First Published: 13:17 IST(2/8/2014) | Last Updated: 13:24 IST(2/8/2014)

The tussle between the two factions of Namdharis fails to die down as a huge crowd of Namdhari followers from various states and overseas staged a protest outside the office of the deputy commissioner here, demanding per mission to Thakur Dalip Singh, the elder brother of sect head Thakur Udai Singh, to enter the gurdwaras and dharamshalas at Bhaini Sahib.

Namdhari Panthak Ekta Committee proceeded on a chain hunger strike starting from Friday. Namdhari followers Harvinder Singh and wife Parveen Kaur initiated the hunger strike and will sit on it for five days. Then, two others will take over.

Committee general secretary Harvinder Singh said, “We repeatedly wrote to Mata Chand Kaur and Thakur Udai Singh to convene a meeting for resolving the dispute but they have not responded to our pleas. Thus we are left with no option but to proceed on a peaceful protest for the rights of hundreds of Namdharis who are being deprived of entering Bhaini Sahib, the headquarters of the sect.”

Ludhiana deputy commissioner Rajat Agarwal is on leave, so additional deputy commissioner Amrit Kaur Gill received the memorandum from the committee.

Following the row over the sect headship which started immediately after the death of Satguru Jagjit Singh, 92, in December 2012, the supporters of the present sect head Thakur Udai Singh did not let Thakur Dalip Singh and his supporters enter Bhaini Sahib.

They were not allowed even to attend the last rites of Satguru Jagjit Singh, which resulted in bloody clashes between the two factions.

Fearing a law-and-order situation, the Ludhiana district administration had barred Thakur Dalip Singh and his supporters from entering Bhani Sahib.

Satguru Jagjit Singh did not have a son and daughters weren’t considered as heirs, so his nephews Udai Singh, 56, and Thakur Dalip Singh, 61, were the claimants to the seat. The dominant faction that controls the sect’s headquarters at Bhaini Sahib, 35 km from Ludhiana, and is backed by the late chief’s widow Mata Chand Kaur chose Udai Singh as the new Satguru.

Seeing the huge rush of Namdharis who have reached Ludhiana from Jammu and Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, Malaysia and Singapore, as many as 200 cops have been deployed at Bhaini Sahib.

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