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Dera defiant on apology
Onkar Singh in New Delhi | May 24, 2007 09:04 IST
Two days after a delegation of religious leaders from Delhi led by Swami Agnivesh met Dera Sacha Sauda leader Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in Sirsa, there are no signs of the tension between the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal and the dera chief easing off.
The Jathedar of Akal Takhat Joginder Singh Vedanti is adamant that the state government must close down all the deras within the state in next seven days or face the consequences.
The Sikh high priests have also demanded that Ram Rahim tender an unqualified apology for wearing clothes similar to that of the tenth Guru Gobind Singh.
"Who would tender an apology on behalf of the Akalis for showing our guru with starlets during the May 22nd bandh in Punjab," the Dera followers ask in return.
Some of the Dera management face charges of murdering one Ranjit Singh. A Haryana-based journalist who was investigating the murder was also found murdered. Now the Dera chief faces a case of hurting the sentiments of the Sikhs in a case filed against him in Salabatpur in Batinda district in Punjab.
The stand off between the Akalis and the Dera is now over the wordings of the apology. Akalis have told the dera management that there was no question of Akalis apologising for the posters during the protests.
Agnivesh is still hopeful that posturing would eventually give place to reason and that both sides would scale down their demands. The Dera, in its bid to counter the growing pressures, released pictures of Badal and his son with folded hands before the Baba before the state Assembly elections.
So far the Dera has not said a word about the role of the Bhartiya Janata Party that has been shifting its stand on the issue fearing the release of a picture showing Navjot Singh Sidhu and Arun Jaitley with Baba Ram Rahim before the elections.