AMRITSAR SAHIB—Sikh24 has received information that followers of Dera Radhasoami Sat Sang, headquartered in Beas, have destroyed a part of a historical Gurdwara located in the village Waraich and have forcibly taken over land from this village. There are growing concerns that Radhasoami Sat Sang (sometimes spelled Radhaswami) is illegally taking land from defenseless villages—and with their ever growing influence over high Government offices, no actions are being taken.
The destruction of parts of the historical Gurdwara has shocked the villagers who are expecting local authorities to take action. An earlier incident in which Dera officials forced local villagers to sell their houses to the Dera administration went largely unnoticed.
Response by Sikh Jathebandis
According to a press release published on Dal Khalsa’s blog, the organisation is going to take strict action to stop the illegal activities by the dera administration. Sikh organisations, including: Dal Khalsa, Damdami Taksal (Ajnala), Guru Granth Sahib Satkar Committee (Bhai Mucchal), Sikh Student Federation (Bhai Gopala) along with Gursikhs from all over Punjab reached Waraich to protest the illegal activities of the Dera.
The situation remained tense between the Sikh Sangat and followers of the Radhasoami cult, best known for having created a number of lineages of “gurus” purporting to be at the same level as the Sikh Gurus. The Radhasoamis locked the entrance to the Dera premises and remained armed with wooden sticks.
Sikh youth were also heavily armed and seen ready to take action against those who committed the sacrilegious act of illegally occupying the Gurdwara land and destroying the Gurdwara building.
Police officers were present in large numbers, though it is always unpredictable as to what the police’s real intentions are.
Lack of Action by Local Authorities
Local Radhasoamis hold strong influence on local administrations—due to which they were able to blockade the road and bar entry to the Gurdwara by Sikh Sangat. Police authorities promised to take action by July 17th and requested Sikh Sangat to remain calm during these tense times. A blockade has also been imposed on the Gurdwara building, so that its remains are not destroyed further.
History Repeating for Waraich Residents
This is not the first time residents of Waraich have encountered problems with the Beas based dera. In 1990, the Radhasoami “sangat” tried to block the road to the Gurdwara. At that time, Baba Thakur Singh, Jathedar of Damdami Taksal (Bhindrawale) was quick to intercept the activity of the dera. He started a series of Akhand Paths on the road itself which forced the Beas followers to withdraw and allow access to the Gurdwara.
In 2006, the SGPC had filed a lawsuit against the Dera for illegally taking over ownership of land which was formerly in the name of Guru Granth Sahib Ji, gifted in 1932 by a Gursikh named Santa Singh of Waraich. The land remained under the name of Guru Granth Sahib until 1985, when its ownership was somehow transferred to the Radhasoami cult.