Saturday, December 10, 2016
Gateway to Sikhism

The Aftermath


On the morning of 14th April 1978, a day after the massacre, the police force headed by the Senior Superintendent of Police and Deputy Commissioner thoroughly searched the Nirankari Bhavan premises. They carried away an arsenal of firearms and the uniforms worn by the Nirankari murderers.

The Akhand Kirtani Jatha made two clear demands to the authorities. Firstly, they demanded justice according to the law. Secondly, they wanted a firm assurance to prevent anyone showing disrespect towards Guru Granth Sahib Ji.

However, neither of these demands was met. A case was registered against Gurbachan Singh leader of the Nirankaris and sixty-two of his followers. A case was also registered against Naranjan Singh I.A.S. For some unknown reason, the Delhi police authorities did not serve warrants issued by the Sessions Judge. Eventually they were all acquitted. Gurbachan Singh was not deterred by this gruesome episode and continued his showing disrespect towards Guru Granth Sahib Ji.

The Nirankaris were the creation of the 'democratic' Government of India. The sect was created to divide the Sikhs and produce infighting within the Panth. The Indian Express (Chandigarh Edition) featured a report by Sat Pal Baghi in late April 1978. He felt that the Indira Gandhi actively supported the Nirankaris saying:

"The genesis of the real trouble between the Nirankaris and the Akalis goes back to the years when Indira Gandhi headed the Union Government. She wanted to weaken the Shiromani Akali Dal, but found that the Akalis could not be brought to heel. She thought of an elaborate plan to strengthen the Nirankari sect not only in Punjab, but throughout the country and abroad also. Official patronage was extended to the Nirankaris much to the anger of the Akalis who have always considered the Nirankaris as heretics.

In pursuit of this policy to divide and rule, Indira Gandhi personally gave clearance for a diplomatic passport to be issued to the Nirankari Chief, and the Indian High Commissioners and Ambassadors abroad were instructed to show him respect and regard. This was meant to help the sect improve its image and increase it's following abroad."

During Indira Gandhi's reign, the Nirankaris received financial assistance from undisclosed Government funds, which were not available for Parliamentary scrutiny. Indira Gandhi ensured that the Congress regime would give official patronage to the Nirankaris. H.S Chhina I.A.S, a staunch Nirankari, was appointed Chief Secretary to the Punjab Government in 1976.

As a result of this official patronage and financial support, the Nirankaris received a considerable political boost within the administrative set-up of the Punjab Government. H.S Chhina appointed Niranjan Singh I.A.S as Deputy Commissioner of Gurdaspur. Niranjan Singh tried his best to widen the field of operation for the Nirankaris.

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The etymology of the term 'gurdwara' is from the words 'Gur (ਗੁਰ)' (a reference to the Sikh Gurus) and 'Dwara (ਦੁਆਰਾ)' (gateway in Gurmukhi), together meaning 'the gateway through which the Guru could be reached'. Thereafter, all Sikh places of worship came to be known as gurdwaras.
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