There is no time for mourning after the sensational murder of 85-year-old matriarch of the Namdhari sect, Chand Kaur.
A day after her last rites were performed, incumbent sect head Satguru Uday Singh on Tuesday named his estranged elder brother Thakur Dalip Singh as the “obvious suspect.” While Dalip Singh has gone incommunicado, his supporters claimed there was tension between Chand Kaur and Uday Singh over donations and running of the sect’s affairs.
Reacting to Uday Singh’s interview to HT, Navtej Singh, Dalip Singh’s secretary said, “Who is Uday Singh to judge who is good and evil?”
“Does he think what he did was good? He used police force, government patronage and silenced Chand Kaur and her son-in-law Jagtar Singh to usurp the guru gaddi (spiritual seat). And the one who declined to accept the title of Satguru from his followers and has not ascended on the gaddi at Sirsa is evil? And he has called Thakur Dalip Singh an anarchist who has been trying to provoke clashes within the community,” he said.
“The goons of Uday Singh had brutally beat up a old man, Iqbal Singh, on the day Chand Kaur was murdered and literally sliced off his ears with a sword and the doctors had to put stitches on his ears. They torched our office near Delhi gurdwara and terrorised women and children with guns at Sant Nagar gurdwara near Jeewan Nagar in Sirsa. And Uday Singh says he did not want the gaddi to go into wrong hands,” Navtej said.
Dalip Singh’s supporters in Ludhiana also alleged that donations were becoming a bone of contention between Uday Singh and Chand Kaur. “There are two major melas when hundreds of devotees come to Bhaini Sahib -- Hola Mohalla in March and ‘Asu da mela’ in October. Chand Kaur wanted to keep the donations of ‘Asu mela’ with her as many poor and sick people came to her. But Uday Singh had asked his sewaks to take control of the donations and not let Jagtar Singh or Chand Kaur lay their hands on it. The deal between them was that since Uday Singh had a flourishing business in Bangalore, the donations and property in Bhaini Sahib should go to Chand Kaur and Jagtar Singh,” a close aide of Dalip Singh said.
Claiming the murder is a well-planned conspiracy to eliminate former Satguru Jagjit Singh’s stake on gaddi, he said with Chand Kaur gone, both Jagtar and his son, Jai Singh, will have no option but to leave the dera as Chand Kaur’s daughter Saheb Kaur was staying at the dera owing to her mother. Dalip Singh has three daughters unlike Uday Singh who has a son. So it is clear who has a motive,” he added.
Navtej also questioned why was Laddi, the trusted guard and sewak of Chand Kaur, not on duty that day. “The killers had done a recce of the area. They attacked her where there were no CCTV cameras and on the day her alert guard, who always carried a weapon, was off-duty. Is it all just a co-incidence?” he asked.
He said it was not Dalip Singh but his supporters who had started holding community meetings since 2006 against the “high-handedness and atrocities being committed by the powerful coterie of Satguru Jagjit Singh after he was not keeping well. Dalip Singh’s supporters claimed the huge 3-day congregation at Mukerian from April 1 to 3 had sent jitters down the incumbent Uday Singh.
Amid the allegations and counter-allegations, many in the community believe Chand Kaur became a soft target as she unlike Uday Singh and Jagtar Singh had no security. “Though she wielded immense clout among the sangat (community), she was no more the power centre or financial control, something she had confided in her close aides,” said a dera insider.
His supporters said Dalip Singh was not keeping well since last two days and had left Mukerian on Wednesday early morning and is not in touch with them.
Points to ponder
*Chand Kaur was killed where there were no CCTV cameras
*Her alert guard Laddi who carried a weapon was off-duty
*Kartar Singh, the main eyewitness, who was driving the electric golf cart is Uday Singh’s main sewak
*The assailants easily entered and escaped the gurdwara complex despite high security