Ranjit Singh Dhadrianwale, the Sikh preacher attacked in Ludhiana Tuesday, rose to fame after he led statewide protests against SAD-BJP government in Punjab against the desecration of Sri Guru Granth Sahib in October last year.
Popular in Malwa belt, he recently had an ugly spat with Harnam Singh Dhumma, head of the Sant Samaj Damdami Taksal (Mehta), which was previously headed by Khalistani Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale. Dhadrianwale had called Dhumma a “Sarkaari Sant” (A government-backed saint) after the latter had allegedly commented on his turban. “I fear Sri Guru Granth Sahib alone, none else. Let alone the government backed sarkaari baba who claims to be the head of respected Damdami Taksal,” Dhadrianwale had said.
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He had said that Sikh sangat should be cautious of such people who are fake and busy in flattering his government associates.
However, he had also said that “he immensely respects Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and Damdami Taksal but not the fake leader who is heading it currently.”
Also, popular in Sikh-dominated areas in the UK, the US and Canada, Dhadrianwale was also accused of singing “distorted” Gurbaani, while in 2012 he got into a controversy for allegedly framing a person in a police case.
Meanwhile, in a video message posted after the attack on Tuesday night, Dhadrianwale appealed to his supporters to maintain calm. “I request my followers to maintain peace and harmony in Punjab. Let police and administration do their job and find out who attacked us and wanted to kill me. I am not in a condition to divulge more details but my only appeal to my supporters is to shun violence and keep (their) swords inside. Let peace and calm prevail in Punjab,” he said. Ludhiana police commissioner JS Aulakh said Dhandrianwale has not named anyone as suspects in his written statement recorded with the police.