New religion finds few takershttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/chandigarh/new-religion-finds-few-takers/

New religion finds few takers

After the announcement of new religion Ravidassia and a new granth by Dera Sachkhand Ballan,the Dera has been almost isolated by the community,which has rejected the new religion and are reluctant to visit the Dera.

After the announcement of new religion Ravidassia and a new granth by Dera Sachkhand Ballan,the Dera has been almost isolated by the community,which has rejected the new religion and are reluctant to visit the Dera.

On February 2,the birth anniversary of late Sant Ramananad,who was killed in Vienna last May,only a few followers visited the Dera to attend the ceremony,even as nearly 1.5 lakh devotees had paid homage on the arrival of his body last year.

 “I used to visit the Dera quite frequently and this time also the authorities had informed us about the birth anniversary of Sant Ramanand but I didn’t attend it because of the controversy created by the Dera by announcing a new religion. A large number of people of our community are still not in favour of a separate religion,” said Joga Ram of village Salem Pur.

“The community believes that Dera Ballan should not create rift among the communities by making such announcements,” said Ram Chand,a devotee of the Dera and a resident of Beas village.

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After announcement of the new religion in Banaras,Dera authorities,including Dera trustee Seth Satpal,have refused to comment on the issue.

Another follower,Parbhu Ram of Kaki village,said he has been a devotee of the Dera for over 30 years. “I used to do service in the Dera on every occasion but I and my family have decided to avoid visits to the Dera till the controversy of new religion is not resolved,” he added.

“We respect the new granth but cannot disrespect Guru Granth Sahib,which has been kept in our temples and gurdwaras since ages. How can a holy scripture which is being worshipped for centuries be replaced?” said Balwant Kaur,a devotee.

“We have decided to follow the same tradition we were following before the announcement of the new religion so there was no question of visiting the Dera on the birth anniversary of the sant,” said Surjit Kaur.  

“Community people are hesitant to visit the Dera,” said Gian Chand,a community leader and convener of Samaj Bachao Morcha,which was the first to defy the new religion.

New scripture replaced by Guru Granth Sahib

The new granth ‘Amrit Bani Guru Ravidass’,compiled by Dera Sachkhand Ballan,was removed from the main platform of Ravidass temple in Dakoha area on Thursday. Bir of Guru Granth Sahib was placed at the main platform in the morning by temple officials. The new granth has already been shifted out from the Ravidass temple in Dhadde village. The new granth was placed at around a dozen shrines in Jalandhar and nearby areas since the announcement of the new religion. After Dera Ballan’s announcement,the state intelligence department has been keeping close vigil on the activities of community people.

‘Dera has encroached our land’

In another setback to Dera Sachkhand Ballan,the All India Adi-Dharam Mission on Thursday alleged that the Dera had taken forcible control of Seer Goverdhanpur,Varanasi,the birth place of Sant Ravidass,in 1993,with the connivance of the then UP government. The seer belongs to the Mission,said its president Satwinderjit Singh Heera in a press conference held here. The Mission has already rejected the announcement of separate religion by Dera Ballan. Heera alleged that the land on which the seer has been established was purchased by the Mission in 1968 and later a religious structure was constructed on it. In 1993,Dera Sachkhand Ballan under the leadership of late Sant Ramanand encroached upon the seer with the help of then then Mulayam Singh Yadav-led government,he alleged. He also provided copies of the registry of the land and water and electricity bills of the place (in the name of the Mission) to authenticate the claim.

‘Have nothing to do with Dera’

The Ambedkar Sena (Mool Niwasi) on Thursday denied having a role in the replacement of Guru Granth Sahib with ‘Amrit Bani Guru Ravidass’ (the granth of the new religion announced by Dera Sachkhand Ballan) in gurdwaras. Some leaders of the Sena were arrested on Saturday and later released for the act,while many were booked for hurting religious sentiments. State president of the Sena,Harbhajan Suman,who was among the arrested,said,“We have been organising Diksha programmes to initiate people into Buddhism. We have nothing to do with Dera Ballan,” claimed Suman. However,it may be noted that when Samaj Bachao Morcha convener Gian Chand rejected the Dera Ballan announcement of a new Ravidassia Dharam,the Sena leaders were seem raising slogans against him. ENS