Updated: August 30, 2017 2:57:20 pm
The imprisonment of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh has led to speculation on who will succeed him as the Dera Sacha Sauda head even as questions are being raised whether the Dera’s past convention even allows for a successor to be placed while the incumbent is alive.
While some Dera supporters insist that there cannot be a bloodline successor to the ‘seat’ of the Dera and, implying, that no family member of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh can be appointed in his place, unconfirmed reports have started emanating from the Dera headquarters in Sirsa that his son, Jasmeet Insaan, will be appointed as successor. The dera chief’s wife maintains a low profile while his two daughters, Charanpreet and Amanpreet, do take interest in the various activities of the dera.
Various names have come up as likely successors to Ram Rahim given the fact that he has been given two consecutive sentences of 10 years each and is likely to spend a very long time behind bars. Given the wide network of social and business interests of the dera, apart from the spiritual aspect, the dera would need someone in command lest the flock of followers melts away in the aftermath of the conviction.
The multi-million rupee business empire of the dera is spread over various states like Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and even some North Eastern states. Apart from vast land holdings and immoveable properties located in these states, including naam charcha ghars, a shopping complex in Sirsa the Dera has also the MSG brand of ‘organic’ and ‘swadeshi’ food products on the lines of Patanjali. The business interests apart, there are charitable educational institutions and a hospital too which are run by the dera.
There are other names too which are in the fray including that of Honeypreet Kaur, whom the Dera Chief calls his adopted daughter. Honeypreet has been a close companion of Ram Rahim for the past many years and is known to enjoy his full confidence besides having a considerable clout in the running of the dera activities.
Upto August 28, when the verdict in the rape cases came in CBI court in Panchkula, Aditya Insaan, Dera Spokesperson was also a strong contender as he too has been one of the closest companions of the dera chief. However, Aditya has been booked in a sedition case by the Haryana Police after the violence that took place in Panchkula and his whereabouts are not known at present. With him facing certain arrest, his chances as the successor have considerably dimmed.
Another strong contender who stands a good chance of being elevated as the dera head is Vippassana who is an office bearer in the dera’s administrative activities. She too has been a close aide of Gurmeet Ram Rahim for a considerable number of years and has also graduated from one of the colleges run by the dera.
Sources close to the dera chief say that the decision to appoint someone in place of Gurmeet Ram Rahim will be taken soon in consultation with the incarcerated dera chief. “The situation cannot be allowed to remain in flux for a long time because there are tremendous legal battles ahead due to attachment of dera properties on the orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. Also, the dera followers need to be reassured that regardless of the setback due to ‘Pitaji’s’ jail sentence, the dera will continue to function as it used to and will provide spiritual guidance to them,” he said.
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