CHANDIGARH: Akal Takht Jathedar (the highest temporal seat of Sikhs) Gurbachan Singh, after a marathon meeting of the Sikh clergy on Thursday, exonerated chief of Dera Sacha Sauda, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, eight years after the latter tried to dress himself up as Guru Gobind Singh, the 10th Sikh Guru.
Gurbachan Singh said that the Akal Takht had received a written apology from the Dera chief apologising for his act and professing deep respect and regard for Guru Gobind Singh as well as the Sikh religion and community.
The Dera chief, in his letter, said he could never dare hurt the sentiments of the community with any blasphemous act and explained that he had never thought of imitating the personality of the revered Sikh Guru since “he has deep regard for all the Sikh masters.”
Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh also clarified that he had never compared himself with any spiritual master or saint.
The Dera chief, besides writing a letter to the Akal Takht, also sent a CD conveying his apologies for the 2007 incident, which had triggered tension among the Sikh community across the world.
Accepting his apology, the Akal Takht Jathedar warned him not to repeat such acts in future as the Sikh community would never tolerate the same.
Earlier, on May 30, 2007, the then Akal Takht Jathedar Joginder Singh Vedanti had rejected the apology of the Dera Sacha Sauda and said they will continue to politically and socially boycott him. “Dera chief, who was involved in murder and rape cases, was given Z plus security cover which is also a gross violation of law,” Vedanti had said.
Meanwhile, president of the All India Sikh Student Federation Karnail Singh Peermohammad strongly criticised the Jathedar Akal Takht for exonerating the Dera chief, asserting that the Sikh community would not accept the decision. “The Dera chief is moving different courts for the last several years as he is involved in various criminal cases and Akal Takaht has given him clean chit in one go,” he said.
Radical Sikh outfit Dal Khalsa spokesperson Kanwarpal Singh, condemning the decision of Gurbachan Singh, said the dignity and tradition of Akal Takht has been lowered down as for the first time in the history of the Sikh community, a person who didn’t even bother to appear before the Akal Takht was pardoned.
“Till date, without in-person appearance, nobody was pardoned by Akal Takht,” Kanwarpal said.