The Dera Dared

It seems that the existence of peace and serenity are concepts that irk the general community of today, as clearly it can be seen that attributes of forbearance and positivity elude the present social diasporas. With the highest degree of discontent and sorrow, I am in a position to declare that the Indian community has assumed that resorting to violence for carrying out the so called ‘democratic protests’ is one of the easiest ways to disapprove of something and making ones voice heard.

June 21 saw the air of Mumbai city become turbulent with extreme rage and wrath. The city simmered on Saturday as thousands of Sikhs, brandishing swords and lathis – blocked railway tracks, damaged Mulund station and shut down swathes of the city over the killing of a community member by bodyguards of the Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh on Friday, June 20. A handful of Sikhs on June 20 were protesting outside Nirmal Lifestyle, a mall in the north-eastern suburb of Mulund, against the presence of Ram Rahim Singh when one of his bodyguards opened fire. Balkar, a Sikh businessman, died in the firing.

Throughout the day, Mulund, the epicentre of the protests, remained paralyzed as the protesters squatted on railway tracks and pelted stones at the trains and buses from 11.30 am, damaging all the four railway tracks that passed through the station. The protestors also forced local shops to down their shutters. Over 50 schools in Mumbai, affiliated to Sikh organizations remained shut to protest the killing. The ripple was felt across north India as well. In Punjab and Haryana, angry Sikhs took to the streets demanding the Dera chief be arrested. Sikh protesters also carried out protests on National Highway No 10 near Sirsa in Haryana which is the headquarters of Baba Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh. Police troops were rushed to the spot to prevent clashes between the Sikh community and followers of the Dera. In Jammu, agitators wielded swords, burnt his effigies, shouted slogans and blocked busy thoroughfares. In a show of supposed solidarity on the day following the communal north Indian protest, hundreds of Sikh protesters of Andhra Pradesh took out huge protest rally and burnt the effigies of controversial ‘fake’ guru of Dera. Despite the fact that the Protests have been called off by the community, it only seems verbally as protests still continue throughout Punjab and northern areas, agonizing the people who are not even involved.

Sikhs have been vehemently opposed to Baba Gurmeet ever since the spiritual guru appeared at a public function dressed as Guru Gobind Singh in Haryana’s Sirsa where the commune started by him is located. He claimed that he is the avatar of tenth Sikh Sikh Guru – Guru Gobind Singh and one should worship him which is against the tenets of Sikhism.

Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC), the highest religious body of the Sikhs, condemned Balkar Singh’s death. Damdami Taksal, a prominent Sikh seminary, also demanded action against the sect chief. The protesters wanted Ram Rahim Singh to be arrested — a possibility not entirely ruled out by Patil, who met city Sikh leaders in the evening. He assured the community that all necessary action would be taken against the four accused, arrested for Friday’s firing, under section 302 and the Arms Act.

The three accused — Jagdev Singh, Satnam Aroda and Rajguru Taneja — bodyguards of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Ram Rahim Singh had been arrested on Friday. The police officer said the entire probe into the case has been now handed over to the city police’s crime branch for investigation. The body of the deceased has been sent for postmortem. Later in the day, a delegation, including former Maharashtra Director General of Police P S Pasricha and MLC Charansingh Sapra met the Deputy Chief Minister.

Meanwhile, something to ponder upon is that amidst all the havoc, the controversial Baba made a trip to Mysore and even flew back to Sirsa. The pivot of the scene has been missing from the scene itself. The Baba who proclaims himself to be a champion of peace and dharma is himself acting as the cause of anarchy and adharma.

Aditya Sinha


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