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Apology splits clergy, panthic bodies
Varinder Walia and Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Amritsar/Bathinda, May 28
Even as the Sikh clergy and Panthic organisations are divided over the contents of the apology tendered by Dera Sacha Sauda addressed to Guru Gobind Singh, the meeting of the Sikh high priests to be held at the Akal Takht secretariat here tomorrow would set the tone of the next course of programme.

While the Sikh high priests are under tremendous pressure from the ruling SAD, SGPC and Sarv Dharm leaders to take a decision which would help defuse the current situation, the hardliners have categorically conveyed to the jathedars not to reject the apology. However, the Sikh high priests are reportedly unanimous on one issue that the edict issued from Takht Damdama Sahib on May 17 won’t be withdrawn on the plea that the contents of the apology were not up to the mark. Jathedar, Takht Damdama Sahib, Giani Balwant Singh Nandgarh, has openly rejected the apology. Without mincing words, he said he won’t succumb to pressure from anybody, including Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and SGPC chief, for giving any relaxation to the dera.

Jathedar Joginder Singh Vedanti said the jathedars of all five Takhts would discuss the apology at its meeting tomorrow, but there won’t be any changes in the programmes already announced from Akal Takht, which included taking out protest march from Gurdwara Fatehgarh Sahib to Raj Bhavans of Punjab and Haryana.

On the other hand various radical Sikh organisations today took a tough stand against the dera chief and urged the Central and the state governments to put him behind bars for hurting sentiments of Sikhs.

Bhai Mohkam Singh, spokesman of Damdami Taksal, while addressing the media questioned the wisdom and the sincerity of the state and the Central governments for not allowing the law to take its own course after the government had filed an FIR against the dera chief. Rejecting the apology, he added that it was only issued to mislead the Sikh community.

Representatives of various Sikh organisations who rejected the apology included Dal Khalsa, Akal Federation, Damdami Taksal, Shahbaz Khalsa, Akhand Kirtani Jatha, Shahidi Dal International, Baba Deep Singh Federation and Gursikh Sanstha.

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Dera sends apology to Akal Takht
Tribune News Service

Sirsa, May 28
Just a day before the five Sikh high priests are to hold a meeting at Akal Takht, the Dera Sacha Sauda faxed an apology letter to Akal Takht here tonight. The dera sent a fax through deputy commissioner V. Umashankar.

The contents of the fax were the same as the press note issued to the media yesterday. The dera apologised to the 10th Sikh Guru Gobind Singh for newspapers advertisements that showed the dera chief Baba Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh dressed like Guru Gobind Singh.

Tendering an apology, the dera stated that there is no question of imitating or replicating Guru Gobind Singh, as we could not even think to do so. The advertisement had led to clashes between Sikhs and dera followers in various parts of Punjab.

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