CHANDIGARH: Controversial self-proclaimed godman, 61-year old Baba Piara Singh Bhaniara Wala
died at his dera in Dhamana village near Ropar on Monday.
It is learnt that Singh felt pain in his chest in the wee hours of Monday after which he was taken to a private hospital in Mohali where doctors declared him brought dead.
Singh who was working in the state horticulture department as a peon left his job after his father’s death. Singh's father used to take care of `Mazars’ and after his death, Singh took over the services. After a few years, he proclaimed himself as `Baba’.
Singh had political connections and followers including former Union Minister Buta Singh. Then he proclaimed himself to be the incarnation of the Tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh and his popularity grew among the masses. Singh also encroached upon Forest Department land and established his dera.
He established a breakaway sect in the 1980s. He was ex-communicated from the Sikh community in 1998. In 2001 he published a holy book and named it Bhavsagar Granth, in which the holy book of the Sikhs Guru Granth Sahib was insulted and his followers also allegedly burnt 'birs' of Guru Granth Sahib in Ropar and Fatehgarh Sahib.
This resulted in clashes between Sikhs and his followers. The Punjab Government then banned his book Bhavsagar Granth and he was arrested for sacrilege in September 2001. As he was booked under the National Security Act and jailed for nine months.
He was targeted by radical Sikhs and many attempts were made on his life following which he was provided tight security.