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India: The Business of Godmen, Swamis, Gurus and such - selected commentary

29 August

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Business Standard, 25 August 2017

Clueless in Babaland

Gurmeet Ram Rahim is the first of country’s Godmen the law has caught up with

Shekhar Gupta

If the context hadn’t been so stark we would have found this question more perplexing: which part of our country has the most Godmen per square mile? It is, indeed, an unusual suspect, Punjab and Haryana. This region is known for much else in our country but not really for such a preponderance of religion, spirituality and self-styled godmen.

Not all are crooks. Some have evolved their own spiritual philosophies, stayed within the law and also done philanthropy and public service. Most of the rest are essentially land-grabbing political fixers, power-brokers and shady entrepreneurs. No better than glorified Gabbar Singhs in fancy dress in whose powerful courts local politicians dutifully answer the call of "Arrey ohh, Sambha..."

You have to be careful using imagery from Sholay to describe people with millions, in the instant case tens of millions of devout followers. That liberty needs to be taken today, our region held to ransom by the followers of a convicted rapist, yet to be tried for the murder of a brave local journalist who outed these cases and also the charge that he emasculated 400 devotees on the pretext of getting them "mukti" (nirvana) and has their testicles in his possession, presumably in refrigeration. Which theme we shall return to, soon enough.

Today’s newsmaker is Baba Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Insaan, the Goodman with the largest following. Next door to his walled, high-security mini-city or "Dera" in Sirsa, is another in Hisar, owned by Baba Ram Pal. Sure enough, he is in jail too, under-trial on charges serious enough to keep him there for the rest of his life if convicted. Since his history is recent, you might remember that in November 2014 Haryana Police fought with his followers in his stockaded fortress and several were killed before he could be arrested. The then Haryana D-G of Police, S.N. Vashisht, was quoted as saying that his "police had to deal with a hostile army of Ram Pal’s commandos".

One thing that all deras or sects have in common is a personality cult. Run your eye westwards from Hisar and Sirsa of Haryana. The adjoining eight or so districts of Punjab have millions of followers of these two babas. Further, their spiritual halo fades but only because there are others. Not all as troublesome, but more colourful: in life as well as in death.

Punjab has the old Radha Soami and Nirankari sects. Both are large, spread in large parts of north India (including Delhi) and beyond. Radha Soamis have been non-controversial. The current head or Babaji is ailing with cancer. Please note that we prefer Babaji or spiritual chief to the description "guru" in Punjab as it is blasphemous for the Sikhs. The tenth Guru, Guru Gobind Singh, had declared himself to be the last, enshrining Sikhism’s Holy Book, the ‘Guru Granth Sahib’ as their Guru forever. The Radha Soami sect is headquartered near Beas river, sort of midway between Jalandhar and Amritsar along the Grand Trunk Road. A hereditary successor is not available now. But a well-planned, amicable succession is in the works. The man chosen to lead the Radha Soamis is Bhai Shivinder Mohan Singh who most of us know as one of the two Ranbaxy/Religare/Fortis brothers – Malvinder Mohan Singh being the other of the duo sometimes called MMS and SMS in Lutyen’s upper circuit.

The Nirankaris have had a more eventful history. Their long-lasting head Baba Gurbachan Singh was assassinated by Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale’s bands on the charge that he claimed to be a "guru". In fact, the Bhindranwale phenomenon rose when, on Baisakhi Day (13 April), 1978, his followers went to protest at the Nirankari congregation and were fired at by the Baba’s supporters, resulting in 16 deaths. The Sikh clergy at the Akal Takht at Golden Temple then issued a hukamnama (Sikhism’s equivalent of an ecclesiastical bull) prohibiting any social contact with Nirankaris. Or, as is stated in a language as direct as Punjabi can be, "roti-beti ka sambandh", relationship where you eat together or inter-marry. Make note again, as we will return to this.

Then there are the Namdharis, the friendliest and gentlest Sikhs in peculiar white turbans. Their last durable chief Jagjit Singh didn’t have a son and anointed one of his two nephews, Uday Singh. He led the sect with his much-revered mother, "Baba" Chand Kaur. She was assassinated by motorcycle-borne gunmen in Ludhiana on 4 April 2016 and both cousins blame each other. Somewhat smaller but equally tightly knit is the cult of Bhaniara Baba in Nurpur Bedi in Punjab’s Rupnagar district. His followers included former home minister and Congress leader Buta Singh who believed his miracles cured his wife. But he fell afoul of devout Sikhs when he published, in 2001, a book Bhavsagar Granth listing his own miracles. He was declared a blasphemer and apostate and stabbed by a Babbar Khalsa assassin while making a court appearance in Haryana.

And finally, in this fascinating star-caste is the “Freezer Baba” (we promised we’ll return to refrigeration). Ashutosh, came from Bihar and built a following of millions of Punjabis. He died in January 2014. But his followers believe he has gone into samadhi and will return. So they’ve put his body in deep-freeze and refuse to cremate it. The high court has been dealing with this for three years. A single-judge bench ordered cremation but a division bench set it aside. Meanwhile, the devotees throng to one widely known now as "Freezer Baba" and chant, en masse, "Ashu baba aayenge..." waiting for him to wake up.

Why is this region so vulnerable to babas is a question for sociologists. I have heard many explanations, but one I take more seriously is that Sikhism is the world’s youngest major religion (just over 500 years old) and is still evolving. It’s also a religion of the book with a demanding doctrine. The babas do three things. One, they make its practice simpler, with fewer lifestyle restrictions. Second, since Sikh and Hindu practices overlap the babas draw from both and offer a market-friendly hybrid product. And third, a holy book has much wisdom. But in times of distress, you sometimes need a human being to defer to, particularly if he has a godly reputation.

Which is a product of marketing genius. We all know about Ram Rahim’s films, songs, motorcycles, bling. Of all the babas, he became the most popular. That’s why, 35 years after their hukamnama against the Nirankaris the Akal Takht issued another, forbidding Sikhs from having the same "roti-beti" relationship with Ram Rahim’s followers. Desperate for his votes, the Akali-BJP government leaned on the clergy to accept his "video apology", and pardon him. This drew protests from the devout. The pardon was withdrawn. But it is widely believed that mainly because he expected help with the CBI cases that he asked his supporters to vote Akali-BJP in the recent state elections. One of the same cases has now ended in his conviction.

This, the babas’ vote banks and the politicians’ greed for en bloc votes, is the curse of Punjab and Haryana. Congress is the past master. BJP has learnt the game. And the Akalis have happily two-timed their conservative "Panthic" constituency by patronising the deras. If a brave journalist dares to pursue a rape charge he ends up with bullets in his chest as Ram Chander Chattarpati of Poora Sach did in Sirsa. The babas, as a result, think they are above the law. Until a brave CBI court judge called Jagdeep Singh changes the script.

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BBC News, 25 August 2017

How a divided India fuelled the rise of the gurus

Soutik Biswas India correspondent

Image caption Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh has millions of followers in India

The followers of a popular Indian guru in northern India have rampaged through towns, vandalising property, setting railway stations on fire, smashing cars, setting media vans alight and clashing with security forces. Several lives have been lost in the violence.

They are angry because a court found Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh guilty of raping two women at the headquarters of his religious group, known as Dera Sacha Sauda, in 2002.

To his millions of supporters - mostly underprivileged, lower caste men and women - Singh is a protean leader of his flock. He mutates effortlessly from spiritual leader to flashy entertainer.

He talks about a life lived in "reasonable restraint", but himself lives opulently. The guru of bling - as some call him - is the main actor in garish, self-produced films and the lead singer in noisy open air concerts packed to the gills by a captive audience of devoted follower-fans. His first music album was curiously titled Highway Love Charger and apparently sold millions of copies.

The guru’s social outreach is equally intriguing. Singh runs charities, and so-called movements to promote blood, eye and cadaver donations. He campaigns for vegetarianism. But he also makes gay men sign declarations vowing to "give up homosexual behaviour" under his "holy guidance", and was once accused of forcing followers to undergo castration to "get closer to god".

Why so many Indians flock to gurus

Why are Indian gurus selling noodles?

A journalist who visited the sprawling headquarters of Singh’s dera - a religious group, Punjab has more than 100 of them - told me she was struck by buildings with human ear-shaped windows and high turquoise walls topped with multi-coloured fruit-shaped water tanks.

"It seemed to me," she told me, "that he’s a guru who lives out his dreams and fantasies - movie star, rock singer, do-gooder, political influencer - through his group and his devotees. In the process, he also helps his followers to dream big."

India has always had gurus for as longer as one can remember. There are global gurus like the flamboyant Maharishi Mahesh Yogi to whom the Beatles turned to for spiritual salvation in the 1960s. And there are domestic gurus for rich and poor with huge followings.

Image copyright Manoj Dhaka

Image caption Tens of thousands of the guru’s supporters had flocked to Chandigarh

The gurus count politicians, film and cricket stars, bureaucrats and ordinary people among their devotees. They run schools and hospitals. They peddle influence as superstitious politicians run to them for advice and votes of their devotees. Proximity to a guru legitimises a politician and adds to his power. Gurus like Singh virtually run parallel states, providing services to followers.

The 50-year-old Singh, who will be sentenced on Monday, is one of the more controversial ones. In the past, gurus - or "godmen" as they are called in India - have been accused of murder, rape, trafficking, assault, sexual abuse and fraud.

Singh himself has been accused of mocking Sikh and Hindu figures, and investigated for murder and rape. Although the bulk of his devotees are lower caste, poor and underprivileged, his core group include highly-educated professional followers.

Many believe that millions of people flock to the dozens of religious groups like Singh’s because they feel that mainstream politics and religion have failed them. In what they feel is an increasingly inequitable world, they feel let down by their politicians and priests, and turn to gurus and shamans for succour.

"In many ways the rise of gurus like Singh tells us something about how conventional politics and religion have been failing a large number of people. So they turn to unconventional religion to seek some dignity and quality. Such groups have arisen in many parts of the democratic, modern world. They find equality by sharing common spaces and ceremonies with millions of fellow followers," sociologist Shiv Visvanathan told me.

Image copyright AFP

Image caption Supporters of the guru clashed with security forces on Friday

Not without reason Singh’s followers share a common invented surname, Insan (Human) - as opposed to an individual surname which reveals your caste and place in society.

Clearly, the rise of the gurus and religious groups tells us how deeply divided and hierarchical India remains. Friday’s violence once again showed how such gurus can end up running a parallel state, and the seeming powerlessness of the state itself.

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scroll.in - 29 August 2017

The power of prayer: A short history of deras and their political patronage

Not everyone who visits deras or ashrams is driven by profound questions about fait

by Mrinal Pande

Train travellers in North India would have noticed that as the train moves from bigger cities like Delhi towards smaller towns, just before it pulls into each station, the bare brick walls of hutments that line the railway track or those that demarcate empty plots sport crude graffiti: “Is your husband or wife, having an affair? Are you sterile? Are you being haunted by djinns, apparitions? If yes, come seek divine guidance from Tantrik Bangali Baba, solver of all problems. ALL CONFIDENTIAL.”

Similarly, all along the country’s highways, from Kuttanad in Kerala to Haridwar in Uttarakhand, Delhi to Ranchi in Jharkhand, enormous hoardings with larger-than-life visages of self-declared gurus or sadhvis beam down on travellers, offering religious discourses of various kinds, and mass feasts – langars or bhandaras. The venues for these doses of food and spirituality range from the local town hall to their ashrams.
Deras emerge

Centuries ago, Mahavira and Buddha, both of whom were born princes, had seen the dangers inherent in building centres of worldly power that unfailingly create future nodes for trouble. Both sternly ordered their disciples to be ever mobile and keep away from setting up a comfort zone.

However, later, as the number of their followers grew and Jainism and Buddhism received royal patronage, elaborate viharas and sangharams (temples and monasteries) were constructed over the centuries, and donations from kings and rich traders followed. Even as Buddhism withered away, the viharas remained the template for all future sects and their mutts, akhadas and deras.

In the 12th century, when the area we now know as Bihar fell to the troops of Qutubuddin’s general Muhammad Bakhtiyar, the general was curious to know what the vast libraries at Nalanda, Odantapuri and Sarnath, abandoned by fleeing monks, contained. The local folk professed ignorance. They had long swapped Buddhism for other, more householder friendly, religious traditions. So Nalanda, Odantpuri, Sarnath were razed and their indecipherable libraries consigned to flames. Then the militant Nath sadhus and various other deviant sects took over religious akhadas.

By the 19th century, when the Mughal Sultanate declined, the deras of sadhus had armed themselves and offered their services for a price mostly to princes in the northern plains, who were forever settling scores with each other. One such Dera was the famous Hanumangarhi of Ayodhya, where the armed Bairagi sadhus held sway. One of their expelled sadhus spread rumours in Lucknow about a coup being planned against the Nawab of Awadh, Wajid Ali Shah. This led to slogan-shouting mobs of armed loyalists, led by a person called Amir Ali, rushing towards Hanumangarhi. At this point the hapless Nawab sought help from the British. They quelled the unrest but used the occasion to declare the Nawab incapable of handling law, and usurped power in Awadh.

The rest is history.

Today, according to research carried out by Punjab University’s Department of Contemporary History, there are some 3,000 deras in North West India alone, among which Dera Sacha Sauda of the cult leader Ram Rahim, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison for rape on Monday, is rated as one among the 10 most powerful.

All deras offer spiritual guidance, miraculous healing and discourses by the dera chief. They receive enormous amounts of donations from the rich farming community, businessmen and builders in the area, and run educational institutions, hospitals, de-addiction centres and mass kitchens to feed the needy.

Today, as in the 12th century, the dera is seen not just as a place of worship. It is a parallel state, a haven against all storms for a mélange of people – poor householders, widows, abandoned wives, orphans, scoundrels, dacoits and history sheeters. Loyalties are fierce and the Dera chief’s word is law. Any imposition of the state’s authority against the dera chief brings that Dera’s followers out in massive numbers and then fighting breaks out in the streets.

At several such religious gatherings, I have asked attendees what the residential quarters of these gurus and permanent ashram dwellers are like? What do they do when they are away from the public eye? What are they going to speak on? Nobody knows. But all say they were called, and so have gathered. The call could not have come without a reason. They are sure everything will be made clear if they only have faith and wait patiently.
State and Deras

Following Ram Rahim’s conviction on Friday, the chaos in Haryana’s Panchkula and Sirsa, where the headquarters of the Dera Sacha Sauda stand, made it clear how a dual authority – that of the deras and the ruling party – co-exists with one supporting the other.

Why does this happen?

In the 12th century, two deviant non-mainstream sects – the Naths and the Siddhas – had armed sadhus in the deras to meet the challenge of Islam and defy forced conversions. Today the Indian state is a secular democracy but its political leaders, looking for large captive vote banks, cleverly twist history, re-invoke old fears, and simultaneously offer liberal patronage to a few cult leaders while allowing them to create little republics of fear and debauchery and raise armed militias. The bottom line is that during elections, the followers of these cult leaders must be made to vote for the patron party’s candidates and all shall be forgiven – the law and order machinery will look the other way if complaints are ever filed.

Thus, together, many of the Deras and the state can be seen promoting and strengthening the Hindu way of life: banning beef, lynching cattle traders, or pronouncing as anti-national all those who refuse to do the yoga sequence known as the Surya Namaskar or sing Vande Mataram.

But I have found not all who go to deras or ashrams are driven by profound questions of ideology. They go because over the decades many swamis and sadhvis have become astute fixers of deals between the rich and the state. The devotees seek help related to transfers and postings, lucrative contracts for infrastructure work, primetime slotting for their TV serials, and even seats in the legislature for their candidates. In blessing a political leader publicly, gurus send an immediate signal to their devotees: “Here is the party I support, and so must you!” Come election time and most chiefs of locally influential ashrams will rise and shine like rock stars. One would think religious gurus of both sexes have never had it so good.

That may be right. But that may also be wrong.

Several of India’s famous religious gurus have died suddenly of mysterious ailments. After their deaths, their once-docile disciples almost invariably break into the most worldly and uncontrollable squabbling over the ashram’s land and legacy. Many swamis, babajis and self-styled messengers of God are also in jail today, charged with grave crimes ranging from murder to rape, sexual trafficking and funding bomb blasts. Spiritual life and politics, it seems are full of sudden reversals of fortune. A party and its favoured babaji at the top today may suddenly be sitting at the bottom another day.

When violence broke out across Haryana on Friday following Ram Rahim’s conviction, Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Smriti Irani was quick to deflect the blame from the actual perpetrators. In a tweet, she implied that the media was to blame for the rioting and killings by choosing to publicise the matter of Ram Rahim’s arrest and the violence that broke out, instead of acting responsibly and maintaining silence over a sensitive matter.

But by then the images of violence in Haryana had gone viral and the damage control began. After the Punjab and Haryana High Court severely indicted Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and the state administration, came the statement from Prime Minister Narendra Modi that “violence in the name of faith will not be tolerated” and that “no one had the right to take the law into one’s own hands”. Enquiries have been ordered, a deputy commissioner of police was suspended. Now that Ram Rahim has been handed his 20-year sentence, political leaders can board flights to Oslo, China or Paris to carry peace and goodwill to all.

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[see also:

Godmen or fraudmen? Time to say goodbye to babas Written By: Oneindia Staff Writer (Oneindia, August 29, 2017) http://www.oneindia.com/india/godmen-or-fraudmen-time-say-goodbye-babas-2531999.html

There will be more Gurmeet Ram Rahims, it’s a question of demand and supply by Ruben Banerjee (Hindustan Times, New Delhi, Aug 29, 2017) http://www.hindustantimes.com/opinion/there-will-be-more-gurmeet-ram-rahims-it-s-a-question-of-demand-and-supply/story-DPznx8XBgrk5tF21yaKNWK.html ]

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SELECTED EDITORIALS

The Times of India, August 26, 2017

Dera chaos: Haryana government stands guilty of rank populism

TOI Editorials

Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh has been convicted of rape by a special CBI court in Haryana’s Panchkula. The case dates back to 2002 when a woman in the dera accused Ram Rahim of rape. However, what’s inexplicable is that in the run up to the court verdict the dera chief was able to get more than 1.5 lakh of his followers to descend on Panchkula in a show of strength.

This is a clear failure of the Haryana government to maintain law and order. The Punjab and Haryana high court slammed the local administration for allowing such a large number of dera followers to gather, noting the complete lack of will power among police to prevent them. The government allowed a situation to be created where mobile internet and SMSes have been restricted, trains to Punjab and Haryana have been cancelled, and schools and businesses have been shut. Such disruption to normal life – because the Haryana administration treats the head of a cult with kid gloves – is ridiculous.

Just as in the case of the Jat quota agitation last year, the BJP dispensation in Haryana needs to be blamed for the Panchkula mess as well. BJP often accuses other parties like Congress and SP of pandering to populist sentiments or vote banks. However, it’s guilty of the same with respect to Ram Rahim and his followers today – the dera had announced open support for BJP in the 2014 state polls. Violence by dera members after the court verdict has already claimed at least 28 lives with reports of arson also coming in from Delhi. State governments in coordination with the home ministry must take strict action against the perpetrators and ensure law and order at all costs.

Violence by dera members after the court verdict has already claimed at least 31 lives with reports of arson also coming in from Delhi.

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Hindustan Times - August 26, 2017

Cults such as Ram Rahim’s must not be allowed to become such a public nuisance

The authorities need to take a look at how such cults become almost uncontrollable and stop them from any unlawful activity like stockpiling arms from inception

In this May 17, 2017 file photo, the spiritual guru, who calls himself Saint Dr. Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Ji Insan, attends the premiere of the movie ’Jattu Engineer’ in New Delhi, India. The court convicted the flamboyant leader in a case of raping two of his followers, prompting thousands of supporters camped out near the courthouse to shout angry protests
In this May 17, 2017 file photo, the spiritual guru, who calls himself Saint Dr. Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Ji Insan, attends the premiere of the movie ’Jattu Engineer’ in New Delhi, India. The court convicted the flamboyant leader in a case of raping two of his followers, prompting thousands of supporters camped out near the courthouse to shout angry protests(AP)

The scenes were very much like those in his much hyped films. The spectacle put on by Dera Sacha Sauda leader Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh and his followers brought large parts of Punjab and Haryana to a standstill. In the run up to the conviction of Ram Rahim Singh by a CBI court in a rape case, there was such a violent frenzy from his followers that a massive mobilisation by the state had to be undertaken, with trains, schools and telephony being disrupted. Despite appeals for calm, his supporters continued their rampage after the verdict was announced. But the larger question is how these cults are allowed to become a law unto themselves and how it is that they seem to feel a sense of entitlement that they are above the law.

In an earlier case, when the police tried to enter the ashram of a spiritual leader in Punjab who had been long dead but stored in a deep freezer by his followers in the belief that he was in deep meditation, they found themselves facing heavily armed supporters who held them off. This sort of pile up of weapons is not uncommon in these ashrams, and they seem to stay under the radar of the authorities until it is too late. Often, the misdemeanors of these so-called godmen are kept under wraps thanks to the enormous political clout many of them have. In the case of Ram Rahim Singh, he issued calls to his lakhs of followers to support a particular political party in the last round of assembly elections in Punjab. However, whether they enjoy popular support or not, they cannot be unaccountable to the law. The manner in which followers think that they can flout the law is seen from the fact that Dera Saccha Sauda supporters gathered in huge numbers even after expressly forbidden by the imposition of Section 144. In fact the Punjab and Haryana high court had pulled up the Haryana government for not applying the right clauses of Section 144. “Why was assembly not prohibited?” it has asked. Many of these cults have set up establishments on encroached land and that too hardly ever attracts any opprobrium. There have been mysterious deaths in many of them and allegations of sexual misconduct as in the case of Asaram Bapu who is now behind bars.

If Ram Rahim Singh was as keen as he seemed to be that his followers should not create such a public nuisance on his account, he should have reined them in. The fact that the supporters were out in full force was indication that this had at least the tacit approval of Ram Rahim Singh. The authorities need to take a look at how such cults become almost uncontrollable and stop them from any unlawful activity like stockpiling arms from inception. Deploying the resources of the state to ensure peace over one man’s conviction seems not just a huge waste but inefficiency in managing law and order in the first place.

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The Indian Express - August 26, 2017
Editorial

A grave abdication

The case dates back to 2000, when the Punjab & Haryana High Court took notice of an anonymous letter making allegations about “sexual exploitation” by Gumeet Ram Rahim Singh, and ordered the CBI to investigate.

The conviction of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, self-styled godman and head of the immensely powerful Dera Sacha Sauda, on charges of rape, will go down as a milestone. The case dates back to 2000, when the Punjab & Haryana High Court took notice of an anonymous letter making allegations about “sexual exploitation” by Gumeet Ram Rahim Singh, and ordered the CBI to investigate. The case was brought to court seven years later, and it took 10 years for the verdict to be delivered.

Meanwhile, politicians of all hues, including of the BJP, Congress, Indian National Lok Dal and Akali Dal, flocked to him for his blessings — read his followers’ votes — for their respective parties during elections. The dera issued a statement asking people to vote for the Akali Dal in this year’s assembly election; before and after the 2014 Haryana elections, BJP members flocked to the dera, first to woo him and later to give thanks. The dera head would have believed that his political clout (rather than the godly powers he claimed to have) would see him through. He also sought to intimidate the court by getting tens of thousands of followers to camp in Panchkula where the CBI court hearing the case pronounced the verdict. That he was pronounced guilty despite all this is truly landmark in a week full of historic court judgements.

The violent aftermath was expected. But not the easy abdication by the government of its responsibility to maintain law, order and peace. Haryana’s Manohar Lal Khattar government seems to have learnt no lessons at all from its embarrassing law and order failures during the 2016 Jat agitation in which 30 people lost their lives, and its 14-day stand-off with Sant Rampal followers in which six people died. Once again, the government allowed matters to drift, waking up only when prodded, when it was too late, and then hoping the Army and central forces would bail it out if matters got hot. Where else is the army called out to protect a civilian court pronouncing a verdict in an ordinary criminal trial? Unpardonably, the administration allowed the massive build-up of the dera’s followers in Panchkula ahead of the verdict.

When the Punjab & Haryana High Court blasted the government for not invoking the right provisions of Section 144 of the CrPC, the government unashamedly passed it off as a “clerical error”. If it indeed was one, the entire administration needs to answer for this mistake. The high court’s observation that there was “collusion” between the government and the dera may not be off the mark. Or, the conclusion has to be that the Khattar government is woefully inept, and has shown itself to be just that, for the third time in three years.

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[Press Release from The Socialist Party of India

Press Release

Remove Khattar, hold new elections

The Socialist Party considers Haryana and the Central Governments responsible for the violent incidents broke out on Friday in Panchkula and Sirsa of Haryana and parts of its border states. In view of the decision of a Special CBI Court in the case of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Grameet Ram Rahim Singh, ​​accused of rape, the Punjab and Haryana High Court had instructed the government well in advance to ensure adequate arrangements to maintain law and order. But the Haryana Government and the Central Government did not take necessary steps to prevent potential violence on the day of judgment.

By assembling his supporters in large numbers with arms Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh had made an audacity to pressurize the court on the day of judgment. RSS/BJP politics, under Modi-Shah-Bhagwat, is mainly based on the strength of superstitions and mobocracy. That is why Haryana and the Central Governments have encouraged the strategy of the accused Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh for the sake of vote bank. Therefore, Haryana and the Central Governments are directly responsible for the death of about 35 people, hundreds of people being injured and destruction of millions of property. The Punjab and Haryana High Court too has stated this fact clearly.

The Socialist Party believes that if the superstitions and mobocracy continue to grow like this in the country then democracy and constitutional institutions will be destroyed. Safety and peace in civilian life will end. Therefore, the Socialist Party appeals to the citizens to rise above the party-lines and seriously consider and prevent this malignant tendency.

The Socialist Party welcomes the Special Court’s decision for giving justice to the rape-victim after a long struggle. Simultaneously, it also welcomes the statement of the Punjab and Haryana High Court - "National integration and law and order are above everything. We are a nation, not a party nation. Politicians need to understand that the nation is one. It is the Prime Minister of India, not BJP."

The Socialist Party wants to make it clear that the people, Constitution, administrative system and its related responsibilities do not have any significance for ’pracharaks’ of RSS. He lives in a world of superstitions and ignorance of his own organization. In the last year, the Jat-Reservation protest movement in Haryana and now the violent incidents happened after the court’s verdict show that the BJP had put lives of citizens of Haryana and citizens of Delhi, Chandigarh, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir who pass through Haryana in danger by appointing Manohar Lal Khattar, a RSS pracharak, as the Chief Minister of Haryana. The socialist Party demands the resignation of Khattar and imposition of President Rule in the state in order to hold new elections.

Dr. Prem Singh

President

Mobile: 8826275067

27 अगस्त 2017

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खट्टर हटें, नए चुनाव हों

सोशलिस्ट पार्टी शुक्रवार को हरियाणा के पंचकुला और सिरसा समेत सीमावर्ती राज्यों में हुए हिंसक उपद्रव के लिए सीधे हरियाणा और केंद्र सरकार को जिम्मेदार मानती है. बलात्कार के आरोपी डेरा सच्चा सौदा के प्रमुख गुरमीत रामरहीम सिंह के मामले में सीबीआई की विशेष अदालत के फैसले के मद्देनज़र पंजाब और हरियाणा उच्च न्यायालय ने सरकार को सप्ताह भर पहले से कानून-व्यवस्था के पुख्ता इंतज़ाम करने के निर्देश दिए थे. लेकिन हरियाणा सरकार और केंद्र सरकार ने फैसले के दिन संभावित हिंसक उपद्रव को रोकने के लिए जरूरी कदम नहीं उठाये.

बलात्कार के आरोपी गुरमीत रामरहीम सिंह ने अपने समर्थकों की भीड़ और हथियारों का जमावड़ा करके फैसले के दिन अदालत पर दबाव बनाने का खुला दुस्साहस किया था. मोदी-शाह-भागवत के वर्चस्व वाली आरएसएस/भाजपा की राजनीति अंधविश्वासों और भीड़तंत्र के प्रश्रय पर टिकी है. इसीलिए हरियाणा और केंद्र सरकार ने वोट बैंक की खातिर गुरमीत रामरहीम सिंह की दबाव बनाने की रणनीति को प्रश्रय दिया. लिहाज़ा, करीब 35 लोगों की मौत, सैंकड़ों लोगों के ज़ख्मी होने और करोड़ों की सपत्ति के विनाश के लिए हरियाणा और केंद्र सरकार सीधे दोषी हैं. पंजाब और हरियाणा उच्च न्यायालय ने दोनों सरकारों के बारे में साफ़ तौर पर यह कहा है.

सोशलिस्ट पार्टी का कहना है कि देश में अंधविश्वास और भीड़तंत्र इसी तरह बढ़ता रहा तो लोकतंत्र और संवैधानिक संस्थाएं नष्ट हो जायेंगी. नागरिक जीवन से सुरक्षा और शांति ख़त्म हो जायेगी. लिहाज़ा, सोशलिस्ट पार्टी नागरिकों से अपील करती है कि वे पार्टी लाइन से ऊपर उठ कर गंभीरतापूर्वक विचार करें और इस घातक प्रवृत्ति को रोकें.

सोशलिस्ट पार्टी पीड़िता को लम्बे संघर्ष के बाद न्याय देने वाले सीबीआई की विशेष अदालत के फैसले का स्वागत करती है. पार्टी पंजाब और हरियाणा उच्च न्यायालय के समयानुकूल कथन - "राष्ट्रीय एकता और कानून एवं व्यवस्था सबसे ऊपर हैं. हम एक राष्ट्र हैं, एक पार्टी का राष्ट्र नहीं. नेताओं को यह समझना चाहिए कि राष्ट्र एक है. प्रधानमंत्री भारत के हैं, भाजपा के नहीं." - का भी स्वागत करती है.

सोशलिस्ट पार्टी यह स्पष्ट करना चाहती है कि आरएसएस प्रचारक का जनता, संविधान, प्रशासनिक तंत्र और उसके साथ जुडी जिम्मेदारी से कोई वास्ता नहीं होता. वह अपने संगठन के अंधविश्वासों और अज्ञान की दुनियां में जीता है. हरियाणा में पिछले साल जाट-आरक्षण आंदोलन और अब अदालत के फैसले के बाद हुए हिंसक उपद्रव बताते हैं कि भाजपा ने आरएसएस प्रचारक मनोहर लाल खट्टर को मुख्यमंत्री बना कर हरियाणा और वहां से चंडीगढ़, हिमाचल, पंजाब और जम्मू-कश्मीर आने-जाने वाले नागरिकों के जीवन को खतरे में डाल दिया है. सोशलिस्ट पार्टी खट्टर के इस्तीफे और राज्य में राष्ट्रपति शासन लगा कर नए चुनाव कराने की मांग करती है.

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