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'Extend deadline on Dera closure'

A body of religious leaders request the Sikh clerics to extend the May 27 deadline to vacate 'deras' by 4 days.
PTI | By HT Correspondent, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAY 26, 2007 09:40 PM IST

Apprehending outbreak of violence, a body of religious leaders mediating in the Dera-Akal Takht row has requested the Sikh clerics to extend the May 27 deadline to vacate 'deras' by four days for an amicable solution.

"We are terribly anxious about the possibility of the situation going out of hand. We appeal to Singh Saheban of Akal Takht to give us a little more time to find a mutually acceptable solution," Swami Agnivesh of the Sarva Dharma Sansad, which trying to resolve the nearly fortnight-long standoff, said in a release here on Saturday.

"We are seeking time till May 31 to find out a amicable solution," he added.

The religious leaders today expressed apprehension of violence tomorrow when the deadline ends.

"There is a commemoration prayer happening in Ambala in memory of the Sikh killed in the violence last week. There is all possibility that the hardliners would try to trigger violence in the state," he added.

"We have written a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, UPA Chairperson, Sonia Gandhi, NDA chairperson Atal Bihari Vajpayee and the Home Minister Shivraj Patil last evening, briefing them about the seriousness of the situation and the urgency of resolving the matter at the earliest," the release said.

Agnivesh along with a delegation had visited the Dera headquarters in Sirsa and held a meeting with its chief Sant Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh to work out a solution.

"Although the meeting was fruitful, the Dera had been slow in its response," Agnivesh said.

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