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Seers’ body nudges Nirmal Akhara factions for talks

Akhara president Nirmala Gyan Dev Singh and secretary Baldev Singh have questioned each other’s position, apart from their tussle over property rights.

dehradun Updated: Oct 30, 2017 20:32 IST
Sandeep Rawat 
Sandeep Rawat 
Hindustan Times
Uttarakhand,Akhil Bharatiya Akhada Parishad,Shri Panchayati Nirmal Akhara
Akhil Bharatiya Akhada Parishad office-bearers try to bring about an agreement between two factions of Shri Panchayati Akhara Nirmala in Haridwar on Monday.(RAMESHWAR GAUR/HT PHOTO)

The Akhil Bharatiya Akhada Parishad (ABKP), an apex body of seers, has stepped in to resolve a dispute over posts and property in Shri Panchayati Nirmal Akhara in Haridwar.

The district administration has deployed provincial armed constabulary (PAC) forces on the Akhara premises as a precautionary measure.

Akhara president Nirmala Gyan Dev Singh and secretary Baldev Singh have questioned each other’s position, apart from their tussle over property rights.

Last month, Gyan Dev removed Baldev Singh, who then challenged the decision in the high court. The court granted a stay. The tussle has divided seers of the Akhara.

Members of Nirmal Akhara, formed in 18th century, have a close relationship with Khalsa Sikhs. The Akhara was established at Kankhal here with grants from the rulers of Phulkian states. Its other major centres are located at Allahabad, Ujjain, Trimbak, Kurukshetra and Patna.

“This dispute needs to be solved as per bylaws of Nirmal Akhara and based on mutual understanding, otherwise it’s affecting the image of the saint community and the legacy of the akhadas,” ABAP president Mahant Narendra Giri told HT.

Involvement of builders and property dealers in the dispute has affected the image of saints, Giri said. “Tradition of akhadas needs to be followed and saints should refrain from such commercial connections. We will boycott such tainted saints if their illegal involvement is proved.”

Nirmal Akhara has properties in Haridwar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab. Its more than dozen properties in Haridwar have been given on rent to hotels, dharamshalas, shops and individuals. Nirmal Santpura is a colony on its land; the Akhara possesses hectares of agricultural land. Estate agents estimate the worth of the properties at Rs 70-100 crore.

Spiritual leader Jagad Guru Swami Hansvedacharya has urged both the factions to come to talks table in the presence of Akhara Parishad office-bearers and prominent saints to settle their dispute.

Superintendent of police (city) Mamta Vohra met the Akhara factions on Sunday and urged them to maintain peace. “Intelligence, police and provincial armed constabulary are monitoring the situation on the Akhara premises,” she said.

Nirmal Akhara is one of the 13 akhadas, which have two sections – Shaivites and Vaishnavaites.

Maha Nirrvani, Atal, Niranjani, Anand, Juna, Avahaan and Agni akhadas follow Shaiva tradition; Digambar, Nirmohi and Nirvani akhadas are Vaishnavites. Bada Udasin and Naya Udasin akhadas along with Nirmal Akhara form the nucleus of these religious establishments.

Akhadas are based in religious centres, such as Haridwar, Allahabad and Ujjain. Haridwar has ashrams and muths of all the akhadas as mahakumbh and ardh kumbh fairs are held here; akhadas take out royal processions (shahi peshwayis) during the mega fairs.

First Published: Oct 30, 2017 20:32 IST