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Dera row: hope, fear as deadline looms

Peace-loving citizens of Punjab are hoping that Sunday passes off peacefully, reports Pankaj Vora.

india Updated: May 27, 2007 02:39 IST

Peace-loving citizens of Punjab are hoping that Sunday passes off without incident. It is the deadline the Akal Takht has set for all the Sacha Sauda Deras to shut down in the state. Sunday will also witness the "Bhog'' ceremony of Kamaljit Singh, termed the "first martyr of the current holy war'', at Gurdwara Nanaksar in Sangrur.

Punjab watchers feel the Dera should have apologised unconditionally in order to put the onus of maintaining peace firmly on the Akali Dal-headed Punjab government.

Dr Pramod Kumar, chief of the Institute for Development and Communication said, "If the Dera chief apologises, the Punjab government would not be able to explain any lapse in maintaining law and order. The Dera has so far taken a legal view and should understand the practicalities involved in political situations''.

On Sunday, thousands of Sikhs, including hardliners, are likely to gather in Sangrur and the Punjab police will have to use all their resources to maintain peace. There is also apprehension that the matter may be allowed drag on till June for the Operation Blue Star anniversary in order to fuel anger against the Congress.

The Akalis are already building a case against the Congress by recalling its role in 1984. There are also attempts to involve the Centre and Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh in the effort to defuse the situation. The idea seems to be that in case the state government fails in controlling the situation, the Centre could be blamed. The Centre has so far not fallen in the trap.

The Congress itself seems to be divided in the state after the Assembly defeat. A senior Akali leader said, "no solution is in sight as of now and matter may continue to cause anxiety". The Dera is hoping for the best. "We can only apologise if the edict is withdrawn and if a conducive atmosphere is created," a Dera spokesperson maintained.

First Published: May 27, 2007 01:21 IST