The Dera Sacha Sauda in Sirsa could face a possible succession crisis following the conviction of Gurmeet Ram Rahim. If he decides against remaining the chief, factionalism within leaves it uncertain who succeeds him. Should he step down, sources close to him feel it is possible he would pass on the mantle to his close aide Honeypreet Insan, 30.
At the same time, however, Ram Rahim’s only son, Jasmeet Insan, may emerge the favourite among old sadhus living in the Dera for the years. For the time being, Vipasana, 35, is looking after management. Jasmeet, 35, is married to the daughter of former MLA and Congress leader Harminder Singh Jassi. Ram Rahim also has two daughters Charanpreet Insan and Amarpreet Insan.
Honeypreet, who studied in a school run by the Dera management, is known to be close to Ram Rahim. While Dera followers say that Honeypreet is like a daughter to Ram Rahim, her former husband Vishwas Gupta had once raised questions about their relationship. She had acted in all his films as the lead actress. She is also known to be influential in the Dera.
An official with the Dera’s media wing, contacted by The Indian Express, said the Dera has not yet taken a call on the next chief. “Everything is normal in the Dera. Most of the followers have left the sect headquarters. There is no conflict in the Dera,” he said. The phones of Dera spokespersons Dr Aditya Insan and Dr Dilawar Insan were switched off when The Indian Express tried to call them.
The district administration has asked Dera followers to leave and provided them government buses. Curfew is still on in the town. A TV journalist who was covering events from outside the Dera was allegedly chased and assaulted by followers on Sunday.