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Saint Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Insan is the head of a multireligious and secular organization called Dera Sacha Sauda.Saint Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh belongs to the Sidhu clan of Punjabi Jats of Rajput origin who had served the Sikh Gurus and received several boons.[1]. A few radical clerics created a controversy after he wore a central asian frock coat which was alleged to resemble Guru Gobind Singh. The central asian frock coat originated in the sixth century and was a well established Mughal attire much before the tenth Guru's time.[2]

Contents

Early life

Saint Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Insan was born to Mata Nasib Kaur Ji and Bapu Sardar Maghar Singh Ji on August 15, 1967, at "Gurusar Modia" village in Sri Ganganagar district of Rajasthan. On September 23, 1990, the then preceptor saint of Dera Sacha Sauda "Shah Satnam Singh Ji Maharaj" held a huge satsang, where he publically conferred Sainthood and succession of the spiritual leadership upon Saint Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Singh . Saint Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh's parents were ardent devotees of Shah Satnam Ji Maharaj, the previous Guru. Saint Gurmeet or Guruji as he is widely called is married and has three children, although he renounced family ties in 1990 to enter spiritual life. [3]

Social Work

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World Records in Blood Donation Drives

Under his leadership, Dera Sacha Sauda has established two Guinness World Record Blood donation drives, the second one on 10th October 2004 in which 17921 units of blood very collected from Dera members by 50 participating blood banks.[4] The previous record which was also made in his name, comprised 15432 units of blood to 56 participating blood banks in afew hours.

World Record in Tree Plantation drive

Mr. Singh is an ardent advocate of tree plantation to curb global warming. As the head of the Shah Satnamji Green S Welfare Force Wing, on 15th August, 2009, he led his members into creating a new Guinness World Record for "Most Trees Planted simultaneously".In this drive 9,38,007 trees were planted in the first hour itself, while a total of 0.68 million trees were planted in 6 hours. However, the record is only for the first hour.

Disaster Relief Activities

Dera Sacha Sauda, under his leadership was instrumental in making one of the largest contributions to Gujarat Earthquake relief in the year 2001. [5] The first village to be reconstructed in Gujarat was village Pratapgarh in Rapar Taluka in Bhuj. [6] Likewise, Orissa, after being hit by a supercyclone was the recipient of Guruji's largesse when 34 wagonloads of an entire goods train were dispatched for the victims.

Upliftment of prostitutes and trafficked women and children

The campaign against forced prostitution and trafficking in women and children started by Saint Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Ji has found widespread support.[7] Till date, hundreds of unmarried young men have come forwards to rehabilitate women forced into prostitution by marrying them and according them dignity.[8] Members of feminist organisations too have welcomed the initiative for rescuing these prostitutes and enabling them to make their own decisions in life.[9] , [10]

Sports

The entire women's roller skating Hockey team of India has been coached by Saint Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Ji Insan (at Shah Satnamji Institutions), and has twice won the Asian Gold for the country.[11]. Likewise, India's throw ball team has three members trained by the Saint who brought home an Asian Gold.

Free Health Care Inititatives

The Yaad E Murshid series of free eye camps organised by Dera Sacha Sauda have entered their eighteenth year.[12] In this camp hundreds of free eye surgeries are organised for poor every year. [13]

Tribal Betterment Projects

Mr. Singh has been involved in tribal emancipation projects in the Kotra and Jhadol districts of Rajasthan and has de-addicted the people of tribal community. They have been trained in various vocational skills also[14]

Backlash from religious zealots

In May 2007 Dera Sacha Sauda was accused of insulting a particular community when Saint Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh wore a Mughal attire. Terror experts say that the real reason behind this victimisation was a serious effort by AfPak terror groups to restart terrorism in India on some pretext.[15] The reason cited by the fanatics was that the Saint, "appeared in an advert” about which some clerics alleged said he looked like the Tenth Guru, Guru Gobind Singh."[16] .The RDX bomb attack on his cavalcade by trained terrorist's further confirmed the terror angle.[17].The Punjab Police on September 4 claimed to have seized 2.5 kilograms of RDX, said to be a part of the consignment used in the attack on the convoy of Dera Sacha Sauda which further brought out the fact that the dress of the Guru was merely an excuse to escalate communal frenzy.[18]This was further compounded the when vested interests derailed the process of negotiated settlement by moderate voices.[19]


This issue was subverted into a serious law-and-order problem in various parts of Northern India, as Dera members were attacked by violent fanatics.[20] At least one person trying to ram his car into the Dera cavalcade was killed by an armed guard. Over a hundred persons were injured as radicals unleashed violence against the hapless residents of Mumbai, purportedly voicing their opposition to the dress issue."[21]Overall, Dera members were restrained in their conduct even as their houses, properties and prayer meetings were attacked.[22]

On 20 May, 2007, a press release by the organization mentioned that it regretted confusion over the dress worn by the Saint.The organisation explained its deep anguish at the misunderstanding and expressed its highest regard for all religions and offered an apology to the great Guru Tenth Guru himself[23] The organization again regretted on 27 May, 2007 saying, "We are pained by the developments of the last several days. We are anguished about the misunderstanding and would like to apologise to Guru Gobind Singh."[24]. However the hardliner communalist's rejected the apology, saying it was dissatisfied with the manner in which the Saint had sent the apology.[25].

On 20 June 2007, a Magistrate issued a warrant for Mr.Singh wearing an attire allegedly similar to the Tenth Guru under Section 295-A of the IPC on May 20 in Bathinda.[26]. This raised the serious issue of an affront on personal liberties enshrined in the Indian constitution, along with the fact that no state or religious institutions stepped in to address unconstitutional acts like 'boycott' and 'retaliation'.[27]

Militants , who had engaged in randomly assaulting Dera members were freely causing mayhem unchecked by the police. But in Mumbai when radicals went berserk,the police acted belatedly to curb the tide of intolerance and public displays of violence against ordinary citizens. [28]

Major allegations

The most serious allegation is of an anonymous letter purportedly written by a victim, sent to Prime Minister, President, Chief Minister of Punjab (India) and Haryana and to session judge of Punjab (India) and Haryana High Court and Supreme Court and a DGP of Police in 2002. It claimed that the writer had suffered an outrage.The Judge who took cognisance of this anonymous letter and marked an enquiry, was himself the subject of a curious litigation after an investigative news uncovered interesting facts about him.[29] If the antecedents are further examined, the role of deeply communal political parties lurking in the background also become obvious. [30]

Some miscreants attacked the editor of a local tabloid, to which he succumbed nearly a month later.

Allegations on a T.V. Channel

On 27th, a so called sting operation by Tehelka and Indian TV recorded a statement , of an ex-driver against Mr.Singh in the house of a prominent Punjab politician.

Other controversies

Some members of the organisation are also under investigation for the murder of a journalist, and for sexual exploitation of women followers.[31]

Although Dera Sacha Sauda says it discourages donations, Gurmeet Ram Raheem Singh's allegedly favourite mode of transport is a fleet of Mercedes cars, whereas the Mercedes Benz company has stoutly denied any cars of their make with Mr.Singh or his organisation.[32] Mr.Singh has been conferred the Z Plus security status due to the risk to his life from terrorist's. The political affairs wing formed by the members of the organization supported the theoretically secular Indian National Congress against the clearly religion based Shiromani Akali Dal in the 2007 Punjab state election of 2007.[33]

See also

References

Sacha Sauda Informational Newsletter

  1. ^ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sidhu
  2. ^ http://www.wsu.edu:8080/~dee/GRAPHICS/GALLERY/MUGHAL/AKBAR2.JPG
  3. ^ www.derasachasauda.in
  4. ^ http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/records/human_body/body_parts/largest_blood_donation.aspx
  5. ^ http://www.tribuneindia.com/2001/20010202/haryana.htm#4
  6. ^ shahsatnamjigreenswelfareforcewing.org/relief-work-in-gujrat.html
  7. ^ Sethi, Swati (14 November 2009). "Dera followers offer to wed sex workers". The Times of India. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Dera-followers-offer-to-wed-sex-workers/articleshow/5229062.cms.
  8. ^ http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8416739.stm.
  9. ^ http://www.feministing.com/archives/019362.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Feministing+%28Feministing%29
  10. ^ http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20091114/haryana.htm
  11. ^ http://www.hindu.com/2007/12/28/stories/2007122856920500.htm
  12. ^ http://derasachasauda.in/eye%20camp_dec08.html
  13. ^ http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20091217/region.htm
  14. ^ www.shahsatnamjigreenswelfareforcewing.org/tribal-reintegration.html
  15. ^ http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/sair/Archives/5_50.htm
  16. ^ Raman, Sunil (2007-05-17). "India tensions over Sikh protests". BBC News. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/6667219.stm. Retrieved 2007-05-17.  
  17. ^ http://news.outlookindia.com/printitem.aspx?541422
  18. ^ http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/detailed_news3.asp?date3=2009%2F9%2F5&image2.x=7&image2.y=7
  19. ^ http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090422/punjab.htm/ DSGMC chief spills the beans
  20. ^ http://www.hindu.com/2009/10/05/stories/2009100559541800.htm
  21. ^ "Punjab limping back to normalcy, isolated protests". The Hindu. 2007-05-19. http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/holnus/000200705191801.htm. Retrieved 2007-05-25.  
  22. ^ http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report_six-dera-followers-injured-in-clash_1258589
  23. ^ "Dera Sauda regrets hurting Sikhs". CNN-IBN Live. http://www.ibnlive.com/news/dera-sauda-regrets-hurting-sikhs/40927-3.html. Retrieved 2007-05-20.  
  24. ^ "Dera Sauda again apologize". NDTV. http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/ndtv/story.aspx?id=NEWEN20070013432. Retrieved 2007-05-27.  
  25. ^ "Dera Sauda again apology Rejected By Akal Takht". CNN-IBN. http://www.ibnlive.com/news/dera-apology-akal-takht-unsatisfied/top/41601-3.html?xml. Retrieved 2007-05-29.  
  26. ^ www.tribuneindia.com/2007/20070621
  27. ^ http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090201/bathinda.htm
  28. ^ "Sikh protestors call off agitation against Dera chief". Rediff. http://www.rediff.com/news/2008/jun/21dera.htm. Retrieved 2008-06-23.  
  29. ^ http://www.thehoot.org/web/home/searchdetail.php?sid=894&bg=1
  30. ^ http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?205426
  31. ^ Rajalakshmi, T.K. (2002-12-21). "Godman under a cloud". Frontline. http://www.hinduonnet.com/fline/fl1926/stories/20030103003404000.htm. Retrieved 2007-05-17.  
  32. ^ "Cult leader sparks Sikh riots with 'guru' stunt". independent UK. http://news.independent.co.uk/world/asia/article2565124.ece. Retrieved 2007-05-20.  
  33. ^ Sacha Sauda sect helps Cong retain cotton belt, Times of India, 2007-02-28

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