Show discusses blind faith of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh followers, possibility of Dera Sacha Sauda supporters engaging in violent clashes
On Friday, APN’s daily current affairs show Mudda discussed the tense situation unfolding in Panchkula, Haryana, where a CBI court was due to deliver the verdict in a rape case against the Dera Sacha Sauda chief, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.
Following the gathering of huge numbers of Dera followers in Panchkula and Sirsa, the Punjab and Haryana High Court told the Haryana government that it can use force if required to control the situation. Even the state’s chief minister, Manohar Lal Khattar, has said that his government is ready to face any circumstances, whatever is the verdict.
Friday’s edition of Mudda discussed the blind faith of the followers and the problems arising from it. The panelists were Allahabad High Court advocate Prince Lenin, former Uttar Pradesh DGP Anand Lal Banerjee, APN consulting editor Govind Pant Raju, Justice Ravinder Singh, social activist Kusum Sehgal, Congress spokesperson Omkar Nath Singh, national secretary of Hindu Mahasabha Munna Kumar Sharma and Supreme Court advocate Pallav Sisodia. The show was moderated by Arvind.
Anand Lal Banerjee explained how spiritual leaders played with public emotions. The deras are actually social movements which are started by leaders and their children inherit it from them. Even the Dera Sacha Sauda leader has already declared his son an heir. He also recalled how the Dera leader had tried to portray himself as the avatar of Guru Gobind Singh following which violence broke out in Punjab and Haryana.
He blamed the police and the government for not taking requisite steps. “This is a big fault on the part of the police. We are capable of handling larger crowds,” he said.
Adding to Banerjee’s comments, Justice Ravinder Singh said that the country runs as per law and not as per religious emotion. Faith cannot be an excuse to take law into one’s own hands. He called the lack of education a reason for the superstitious behaviour of the people. He went on to say that when superstition crosses all lines, it turns into madness and mad people have to be dealt with strictly.
“If this madness is not dealt with strictly, then there will come a day when judges will not be able to give judgment and democracy will fall prey to mobocracy,” he said.
Munna Kumar Sharma, however, said that the followers are not creating any mishap and have gathered peacefully. The religious leader is doing his work. He has told his followers to be calm. This is faith and the followers are not troubling anyone. “If anything wrong happens the police is there to control the situation,” he said.
Raju said this is the third such case in the tenure of the Manohar Lal Khattar government, the first two being the Jat agitation and the Mathura violence by Ram Vriksh. “These spiritual leaders preach to people and then when power comes into their hands they misuse it by misguiding people. He also used his films to spread the wrong message to people. It is different from the ancient times when sages used to do selfless service. Today everybody has made a business out of people’s faith,” he said.
Later in the day, however, widespread clashes broke out between Dera supporters and police. The supporters targeted the media and burnt their vehicles. Eleven of them were reported killed, as violence continued.
-Compiled by Lilly Paul
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