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Dera apology: Sikh priests to decide Wednesday
Onkar Singh in Amritsar | May 29, 2007 11:16 IST
Last Updated: May 29, 2007 16:28 IST
Top Sikh clerics have put off to Wednesday their decision on the future course of action against Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in the wake of an apology tendered by him for dressing like Guru Gobind Singh.
The five high priests, who met at the Akal Takht Secretariat within the Golden Temple Complex in Amritsar on Tuesday, are from the five takhts of Akal Takht.
They are being represented by their jathedars Joginder Singh Vedanti, Giani Tarlochan Singh, Iqbal Singh and Balwant Singh Nandgarh.
The fifth takht of Hazoor Sahab (Nanded, Maharashtra) is being represented by head priest Partap Singh.
They were joined by a delegation of all religions led by Swami Agnivesh, which had tried to get an apology from the Dera.
Swami Agnivesh said he was hopeful of a breakthrough in the talks.
Delegation members comprise father Damnia Manuel, Abhishek Jain and Maulana Jamir Ahmed Ilyasi representing the Christian, Jain and Muslim faith respectively.
The Sirsa-based Dera had sent its signed apology to the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabhandak Committee on Monday night so that it could be placed before the five high priests in Amritsar on Tuesday.
The Sikhs and Dera followers came in conflict when the Dera chief appeared in a dress similar to that of the 10th Sikh guru leading to violent clashes in the region in which one person was killed and around 50 others injured.
The crucial meeting of the Sikh priests was delayed as the trains were running behind schedule from Nanded Sahib in Aurangabad and Takhat Patna Sahib in Patna.
Earlier, newsmen waiting at the information centre outside the Golden Temple complex blamed Lalu Prasad Yadav, Union railway minister, for delaying the meeting.
"I hope Lalu is not trying to sabotage the meeting," joked a journalist who had travelled all the way from New Delhi to Amritsar to report the event for his paper.
Swami Agnivesh had earlier led a four-member delegation to sort out the differences between the Dera chief and the Sikh sangat after the former appeared dressed like Guru Gobind Singh during a ceremony in Salabatpura in Bhatinda district on May 13.
The Amritsar police has set up barricades all over the city and particularly around the temple complex to ensure that anti-social elements do not create trouble.
"I hope the tension comes to an end in the evening. I am optimistic that the Akal Takht will accept the apology of the Dera chief," Swami Agnivesh told rediff. com.
But Bhai Mokham Singh, a former militant and spokesman of the Damdami Taksal has, asked the Akal Takht chief to reject the apology as it was not directed to the Akal Takht but to the 10th Guru Sahib in a clever move to upstage the authority of the Sikh clergy by a Supreme Court advocate who has signed the apology on behalf of the Dera and who incidentally also filed a petition before the Supreme Court seeking protection for Dera followers.
With PTI Inputs