It’s A Tight Rope Walk For Akali Dal As Dera Heads Collide

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CHANDIGARH – As Punjab’s realpolitik steers towards the ongoing feud between Sikh preacher Ranjit Singh Dhadrianwale and followers of the ancient Sikh seminary of Damdami Taksal, the state’s “Panthic” government is caught in a dilemma. So far, it has avoided taking action against the person suspected of conspiring the May 17 attack on Dhadrianwale.

The government is looking at the attack on Dhadrianwale by followers of the Taksal, and the overt threats issued by Taksal chief Baba Harnam Singh Dhumma as nothing more than a conflict between two religious personalities. It is wary of the repercussions of the feud, if not resolved immediately.

With the Opposition parties – the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) — both holding meetings with Dhadrianwale and accusing the government of creating a religious chasm among the Sikhs, the Akali Dal is walking on the razor’s edge in dealing with the issue.

Dhadhrianwale has already issued a deadline for May 26 for the government to expose the main conspirator behind the attack. After repeated cajoling of the Sikh preacher by many senior Akali leaders, including Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his deputy Sukhbir Badal, has failed to cool down tempers, the intervention by Akal Takhth Jathedar today could help the government.

It is a known fact that Dhumma is close to the top Akali leadership. Though some Akali leaders who were holding talks with Dhumma earlier failed to convince him to stay quite, the Akali leadership knows that his influence as chief of the Sant Samaj as well as the Taksal is immense. That is the reason that the government has decided not to name the main conspirator behind the attack till the investigation is complete.

Sukhbir told The Tribune that the law was taking its own course. “We have already arrested 14 persons. Whoever the police finds guilty will be prosecuted. As Home Minister, my responsibility is to maintain law and order. I will ensure a free and fair probe,” he said. Sukhbir refused to say if any of the arrested persons, including followers of the Taksal, have named the main conspirator. He said it would take some time before the entire conspiracy could be solved.

On the other hand, the police are working to make an airtight case. A team of the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) today visited Ludhiana and collected four shells of the shots fired at the car of Dhadrianwale. The team also held meetings with the doctors who conducted the post-mortem on Dhadrianwale’s aide, who was killed, and examined the report.