Radical Sikh bodies reject sect chief’s ‘apology’ offer

April 20th, 2009 - 8:46 pm ICT by IANS  

Amritsar, April 20 (IANS) Radical Sikh organisations Monday rejected an offer made by controversial Dera Sacha Sauda sect chief Gurmit Ram Rahim Singh to offer a conditional “apology” before the Akal Takht, the highest temporal seat of Sikh religion.
The sect chief, who has been at loggerheads with the Sikh community and clergy after he attired himself like 10th Sikh guru, Gobind Singh, early 2007, has again made the offer to “apologise” before the Akal Takht.

But the sect chief, who is facing two charges of murder and one of rape in a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court in Haryana’s Ambala city, has said that he would appear before the Akal Takht with his apology only with his followers. He has even suggested that if his followers cannot be allowed with him at the Akal Takht, the Sikh body could send any number of representatives to his sprawling sect campus near Sirsa town in Haryana.

Accusing the Dera chief of playing another game with his so-called “apology” move, radical Sikh organisations Dal Khalsa and the Khalsa Action Committee (KAC) termed it as “another attempt to mislead the Sikhs and mock at Sikh institutions”.

KAC and Dal Khalsa leaders Mokham Singh and Kanwarpal Singh, while addressing media here Monday, said that the timing of the sect chief’s “apology” offer was well calculated.

“This is a well-thought and calculated move aimed at showing a carrot to Akalis on one hand and creating divisions amongst Sikhs on other,” both leaders said in a joint statement.

The sect chief’s offer is being seen by Sikh radicals as a move to appease the ruling Akali Dal in Punjab to get the controversy with Sikhs sorted out. The sect, which has over two million followers in Punjab, is considered important by the Congress and Akalis who seek votes of its followers.

“We have a strong feeling that Akalis might fall in trap and strike a deal with the Dera as they were desperate to woo its voters even at the cost of Sikh principles,” Kanwarpal Singh said.

The Sikh leaders claimed that the tone of the sect chief was not of a guilty man but someone who was trying to dictate terms to the high Sikh institutions.

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