Speculation was rife today on who will succeed convicted Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, with the names of his son Jasmeet, adopted daughter Honeypreet and Dera chairperson Vipassana Insan doing the rounds.
However, Dera sources said that no such move yet has been initiated by the Dera management. The first priority of the Dera will be to file an appeal in the High court against the sentence pronounced by the Special CBI court yesterday, the sources said.
50-year-old Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was sentenced to 20 years in jail for raping two of his followers. Jasmeet, who is in his thirties, is married to the daughter of former Punjab Congress legislator Harminder Singh Jassi.
If Jasmeet is appointed as successor of Ram Rahim, it will be breaking the tradition of the Dera which has never appointed a person as its chief who is from the family of the present sect head. Honeypreet Insan, who is considered close to Dera sect head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, is also seen as the likely successor of the Dera.
Honeypreet, who is her in thirties, had accompanied Ram Rahim when he was brought to the Special CBI court in Panchkula for the pronouncement of verdict in the 15-year-old rape case on Friday. Honeypreet, who describes herself as “papa’s angel, philanthropist, director, editor and actress” on social media, is an adopted daughter of Ram Rahim Singh.
Vipassana Insan is the chairperson of the Dera Sacha Sauda and holds the top position in the Dera management which takes care of several activities like farming, social welfare, factories, educational institutions etc. After the mayhem at Panchkula and Sirsa following conviction of Dera sect head, it was Vipassana who had issued an appeal in video message, asking followers to maintain peace and calm.
Vipassana, when contacted, said there was no move to appoint a new Dera sect head. “There is no succession move. Followers have complete faith in Guruji,” she said. However, she said for the time being, all educational institutions and factories of the Dera have been shut down. Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was appointed as the third head of the Dera Sacha Sauda on September 23, 1990 at the age of 23.
The Dera Sacha Sauda was founded by Mastana Maharaj in Sirsa on April 29, 1948, “to encourage spiritual awakening among masses to uplift humanity and to create better world.” In 1960, Mastana Maharaj, who originally hailed from Baluchistan (Pakistan), handed over the reins of Dera to his successor Shah Satnam Singh.
The dera, which claims to have millions of followers, runs educational institutions, hospitals, carrying out farming and manufacturing activities etc. It has several wings like administrative, political, youth federation, social welfare, medical, educational and IT.