The acceptance of an invitation from the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh by Dalit religious leader, Sant Nirmal Dass, president of Sri Guru Ravidass Sadhu Sampardai Society, Punjab, has led to split in the organisation. On Saturday, a section of the office-bearers declared their rebellion and announced a new president of the society after holding a meeting Friday evening.
The RSS had invited Sant Nirmal Dass to be its chief guest at the Dusshera function at its Nagpur headquarters.
The RSS celebrates its foundation day on Dussehra every year. In its 92-year history, this was the first time that the RSS had invited a Dalit leader to be its chief guest.
Although Sant Nirmal Dass accepted the invitation, and embarked on the journey to Nagpur, he abruptly returned to Jalandhar from Delhi airport, citing sudden ill health. After the announcement Saturday of the rebel president, the Sant Nirmal Dass faction organised a religious function at his dera in village Raipur Rasoolpur, intended to be a show of strength.
Around 100 people participated in the function. Shri Guru Ravidas Samperdaye Society has 300 big and small deras associated with it across the state. Those opposing Nirmal Dass include senior vice-president Sant Mohinder Pal and general secretary Sant Nirmal Singh Awadaan.
According to the Nirmal Dass faction, the two had been removed them from their posts on Thursday and Sant Sarwan Dass (Ludhiana) and Sant Inder Dass had been appointed as senior vice-president and general secretary respectively. At their meeting on Friday, the rebels announced a new president, Kulwant Ram, and Mohinder Pal as chairman. The opposing leaders said Sant Nirmal Das was trying to implement RSS agenda in Punjab under the influence of some political and religious leaders.