After eight years, the historic land of Fatehgarh Sahib is once again going to witness a march which will be led by Sikhs against Sirsa Dera head Ram Rahim Singh and the desecration of the Guru Granth Sahib.
On May 31, 2007, a march led by Sikh moderate and radical leaders was taken out, in which SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar and the Akal Takht jathedar had also participated on the call of Sikh panth, against the Sira dera head after he was accused of blasphemy for dressing up like Guru Gobind Singh.
Eight years on, the dera head is mired in controversy again, with pardon being granted to him by the Akal Takht and then reversal of the same.
Multiple incidents of desecration of the Guru Granth Sahib reported across the state have added to the trouble.
In protest, preachers will lead a march on October 30, from Fatehgarh Sahib gurdwara towards Chandigarh, where they will present their blood to Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. They have clarified that the call is only the for preachers’ community and not political outfits to assemble at Fatehgarh.
This time, however, even Akal Takht is on the opposite side of the fence as protesters have accused jathedars of “playing with Sikh emotions” by pardoning the dera head. Even as the SGPC and Akali Dal had participated in the march held in 2007, they, too, face people’s heat for not taking appropriate action against the dera head.
But Simranjit Singh Mann, SAD (Amritsar) head, claimed that he too would join the march and “see off” preachers from Fatehgarh. “I will be seeing them off as they begin the march from the CM’s residence,” Mann told The Indian Express. He added that “this march and protest movement will finally solve all the issues.”
“It has been eight years since the Sirsa dera head dishonoured our Guru, and we started demanding the strictest action against him. All organisations have now united against the Badals. DGP (Sumedh Singh Saini) has changed, but not the system. Khalistan movement and the protest against Ram Rahim will continue till a conclusion is reached,” said Mann.
Baljeet Singh Daduwal, founder of Panthic Sewa Lehar, who was among the first people to raise voice against Ram Rahim in 2007 and one of the five preachers who will be leading the protest, said, “We are not going to ignore anyone. Political representatives who want to join us can come to Fatehgarh, but they cannot march ahead with us.
Only five preachers including me and members of our preachers’ community including kirtan singers, ragis, sewaks, etc can march ahead with us. It is yet to be decided how blood to be presented to the CM will be collected.”
Fatehgarh Sahib SSP Jatinder Singh Khaira said elaborate arrangements had been made to avoid untoward incidents on October 30.
“Police will ensure there is no law and order problem during the march,” he said.