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Sikh News Killing of Dera Leader Sets Off Riots in India

Discussion in 'Breaking News' started by Sikh News Reporter, May 26, 2009.

  1. Sikh News Reporter

    Sikh News Reporter United States
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    NEW DELHI — Riots erupted across the Punjab region of India on Monday in response to the killing of the leader of a Sikh sect who died after an attack on a temple in Vienna on Sunday.

    At least one person was killed and the authorities placed four towns under a curfew after a day of violent protests following the attack in Austria on the sect leaders, who were visiting the large Sikh community in Europe.



    While in Vienna, six young Sikh men armed with guns and knives stormed into a hall where hundreds of worshipers had gathered and shot at the sect leaders, said S. R. Heer, a senior official at the sect’s hospital and school in Jalandhar, a large provincial town in Punjab.


    One of the leaders, Guru Sant Rama Nand, died of his injuries, while the other, Sant Niranjan Dass, was in stable condition following surgery, Mr. Heer said.



    The two men were the leaders of the Ravidass sect, Sikhs who revere a saint of the same name believed to have been born in the 15th century to a family of leather workers, considered “untouchables” or outcastes, and known today as Dalits.



    Though the bloodshed happened a continent away, news of the attack, by text messages and mobile phone calls sent from the vast community of Sikh émigrés in Europe, came to Punjab almost instantly. The rioting quickly followed.


    Television stations in India beamed images of sect members parading through the streets of Punjab with swords, metal rods and sharpened sticks aloft. The rioters smashed cars and set fire to empty trains, snarling road and train traffic through one of the most prosperous provinces of India, police officials said. Bank machines, car dealerships and buses were destroyed.



    In Vienna, 16 people were wounded in the melee that followed the attack, The Associated Press reported.


    “We are dealing with a very tense situation,” said Kuldeep Singh, Deputy Inspector General of Police in Jalandhar, one of the worst hit towns.



    The army fanned out to quell the violence, and top officials of the newly sworn-in government, which was elected this month, issued statements of dismay and called for calm.



    “Sikhism preaches tolerance and harmony,” Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, himself a Sikh, said in a statement. “I appeal to all sections of the people in Punjab to abjure violence and maintain peace.”


    In principle, Sikhism rejects caste divisions; one of its main tenets is the equality of all believers. But the existence of caste-based sects within Sikhism illustrates how tenacious divisions that have existed for millennia can be.



    The motive of the attack on the Vienna temple was unclear. Some mainstream Sikhs disapprove of the religious practices of the Ravidass members, who worship their own saints. Mainstream Sikhism reveres only its holy book, known as the Guru Granth. But these theological disputes have rarely provoked violence between sects, experts say.
    Though vastly diminished, discrimination against Dalits remains a force in everyday life among Sikhs in the countryside, said Surinder Jodhka, a sociologist at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi who studies caste in Punjab.



    But, Mr. Jodhka said, Dalits have successfully integrated themselves into mainstream Sikh society, and violent caste conflicts are unusual. Punjab has one of the highest shares of Dalits, and like Dalits from other Indian states, they have climbed the social ladder by venturing out of their villages to work, earn and remake themselves.
    Many Dalit Sikhs, devotees of the Ravi Dass sect, started migrating to Europe in the 1960s, helped set up Ravi Dass temples, known as gurdwaras, and played host to preachers from Punjab, for whom Europe and North America became important fund-raising bases.


    Hari Kumar and Somini Sengupta contributed reporting.
     

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  3. Hardip Singh

    Hardip Singh India
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    Let us make one thing very clear that followers of this Ravidass sect are not SIKHS in any way. Media has been trying to project it wrongly altogether, as if some upper clan Jat Sikhs have done all these on Dalit Sikhs. Sikhi do not belive any castism first. But any body trying to force upon one's sects idea over others by forcibly speaking at formers place is never welcome by any society. This is what has happened in Viena. Let the Media not flare the flames and STOP labeling this sect as SIKHS.
     
  4. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Malaysia
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    Hardeep Singh Ji, Gurfateh.

    The Media are like a Dog which has dug up an old bone...the more you try and take it away..the more it will bite it...There are several AGENDAS being served and carried out here..its NOT a simple open and shut case....the Media Spin..on caste/guns/violence/Gurdwaras/GURU/SIKHS/Jatts etc e5tc etc are all part and parcel of a malign campaign...carefully orchestrated....:}8-::}8-::}8-::}8-::}8-::}8-: The Witches cauldron is boiling..and the Devil is busy...:}8-::}8-::}8-::}8-::}8-:
     
  5. Bhupinder Singh

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    Dear Hardip Singh Ji,
    This is a matter of grave concern which is affecting Sikhism today. What are these sects which have been there and new ones which are getting created every day. Aren't these the outcomes of our own short-sightedness in comprehending the bigger meaning of Sikhism. When you say that the followers of "Ravidass sect are not Sikhs in any way" what do you intend to convey. Don't these people follow the same Guru Granth Sahib, dont they follow the same basic tenets of Sikhism which the other so-called "Gursikhs" follow. My point here is that if you read into the history you'll realize that this sect has been formed as a result of deeply ingrained Casteism in Sikhism, something which Guru Gobind Singh had outrightly condemned and banished in the learnings of Sikhism. I understand that the followers of this sect in discussion have drifted away or maybe we can say that they have adapted their teachings in a way they find suitable. But by further alienating them away aren't we again making the same mistake that our forefathers made. And secondly, the main thing under contention in this issue should be that who gave those Sikhs the right to take and use armed weapons inside a religious place. I think Sikhism is much higher than all this.
     
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  6. Hardip Singh

    Hardip Singh India
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    Perfactly right, Sir. I intend to convey only one thing THAT is Sikhi does not allow it's followers to go for any IDOL WORSHIP or worshiping any living being. They do it. Our reverened Guru Sahib had taken only those part of Bhagat Ravidass jee's bani in the SGGS, which is purely based on Guru Nanak's principals of Eak Noor and human equality. Sikhs have nothing do with the rest of Ravidass jee's bani or his views / teachings. As human being we all are same and have equal rights to live and worship. But this never allows some one to give un-necessary comments on others way of living or worshiping. We have to first control ourselves and not indulge in any voilence in any place of worship or even outside. What happened inside Viena Temple is highly regretable. But other side should also show some restraint. Media has blown up the whole situation without knowing any facts at all. They are (Media) the main culprits bent on damaging our ( a Sikhs) image.
     
  7. Manisha

    Manisha
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    This is true because I'm born in a family where we are followers of Guru Ravidass Ji yet I call myself Sikh because we do follow and pray from the same Guru Granth Sahib Ji. I agree totally with what you're saying, and also Hardip Singh too, because the Sant was a Ravidass follower and because we follow the Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Guru Gobind Singh Ji said there will be no more living Gurus after him and only the Guru Granth Sahib Ji will be the only living Guru that we will follow. Therefore I believe it was the Sant's galti to call himself a Guru and allow worshppers to bow down to him (which is what I believe to have happened).
    Yet another true point which is what I believe and said myself too, is who gives these young Sikhs the right to go into the gurdwara and intendedly violently attack the Sants and the worshippers - especially more if the Guru Granth Sahib Ji is present - which is terrible. I'm more worried now, what this is doing to India and followers of Ravidass and Sikhs world-wide even, and people like me too who regard themselves as both. I don't think the young Sikhs took this situation to hand carefully as.. What will happen now? We have no choice but to wait and see..
     
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  8. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    Mishi ji -- My pleasure to be on this thread with you.

    No one has a right to go into a house of worship and start a trail of bloodshed and violence anywhere anytime. And No one has a right to burn trains, ATM machines and automobiles either. This means that the parties involved will have to come to their senses. Or if they chose not too, accept the moral burden of acting in a way that is in truth against the teachings of the Gurus, against dharma, against the hukam of the Creator.

    Now what will they do?
     
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  9. Tejwant Singh

    Tejwant Singh United States
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    This kind of violence from the so called Sikhs shows that those who call themselves Sikhs and act in this heinous manner are themselves idol worshipers. If these people followed Sikhi by studying,understanding and hence by practicing what the Sikh values are, then they would not attack any house of worship for any reason, period.

    The problem is not with the Deras which are springing up like wild flowers everyday and raking money like crazy which is taking the money away from the Gurdwaras but with the SGPC and the Takhats who are supposed to be the forebearers of Sikhi rather than the self centered, power hungry fiends. It is their duty to lure the people who flock around Sants and Deravalas by sharing the true message of Gurbani rather than making people mere parrots. It seems that it is more important for them to make people do the number of paaths than to teach them how to understand and follow the message. In order for this to happen they themselves should stop being parrots and start studying the true message of Guru Nanak so they can understand and then teach the seekers how to," Naam Japnah, Kirat Karni and Vand kei Chaknah".

    Until this happens, Deras will keep on cropping up on every corner. The people who are in need of solace will keep on flocking towards these Deras and the honchos- the so called caretakers of Sikhi will keep on flaunting their ever so shiny plummage of parrots.

    Something must be done before Sikhi becomes just a footnote in the history of mankind.

    Tejwant Singh
     
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  10. Manisha

    Manisha
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    Thank you.

    Well firstly, I've been reading a number of threads about this and the effects, well more importantly damage this is doing to India and other places (because it's somehow become caste-related :S) is phenominal..

    1st of all even in places like UK people do nothing but "brag" about their caste "assuming" their respecting their religion when they're not. And it's negatively amazing how this incident is already! causing so much distress and violence which is creating an even more segregation between people - when really we should unite. And this incident has done nothing but contribute to this seperation between people - where the seperation line has already been there! We need to be demolishing this like Guru Ji wanted..

    2ndly, Even though I partially understand why people in India are behaving in this violent way because obviously to express their feelings of anger and possible discrimination because caste is coming into this and it's becoming a caste-attack? That wasn't even the point the attackers were making.. They were right to make it clear that if you (anyone) are following teachings from the Guru Ji's and the Guru Granth Sahib Ji itself, then you do NOT worship idols or living human beings - however the Sikhs just went about this in the wrong way.

    However, India's already a less economically developed country and yet people are destroying their environment like it's nothing and only making things worse for themselves and the representation of their and our country. Because at the end.. Who's going to pay (literally) to make it right? They are!

    And ah, see you say that the parties involved will have to come to their senses, but how will they and when will they? There's just so many people these days that act so irrationally and yeah, they don't follow the teachings of the Guru Ji's but "claim" to be "standing up for their religion" Some people have even said this to me about this very incident. People of higher authority of those who think this way need & have to take control to encourage people that they need to follow the right way and not what they think is the right way..

    And as for those accepting the moral burden.. We just don't know how they are thinking.. Because like I'm saying, their thinking's irrational so they're probably thinking they're right.. What can we do? Well somebody of higher authority has to deal with this, looking at both sides of the argument - as the Sant was wrong in allowing people to worship him as a Guru and those young Sikhs were wrong as they shouldn't have used these acts of violence in general and in a place of worship to present their feelings/thoughts/the "right message"

    I'm very much distressed about this myself.. As you can probably tell.. I just hope things won't turn out as bad as I'm already (at this early stage) expecting them to be..
     
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  11. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    Mishi ji,

    I can see that you are very upset but nonetheless you are very articulate and making a lot of sense. How to fix this? I do not know. By now the situations have progressed to the point where nothing makes sense and looking back in time for missed solutions does no good. Please remember that Sikhs are not doing this. Some Sikhs are. Ravidasis are not doing this. Some Ravidasis are. And throughout history this is how many parts of humankind have behaved. We have only to see the anguish in Africa and the anguish in Burma, and in so many other places, to understand that being human sometimes means losing our minds. Guru Nanak said

    ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਬਾਝਹੁ ਸਮਝ ਨ ਹੋਵੀ ਸਭੁ ਜਗੁ ਦਬਿਆ ਛਾਪੈ ॥
    sathigur baajhahu samajh n hovee sabh jag dhabiaa shhaapai ||
    Without the True Guru, there is no understanding. The whole world is buried under its nightmare.

    This is the truth. Guru Nanak is telling the truth for all peoples and all times. So I do not have answers -- but only to say that those of us who understand Guru's message will refrain from choosing the nightmare and speak as he did with a strong voice against hatred and ego to those who were corrupt and out of control in his time. Each person who choses "understanding" tips the scales against the "nightmare." One person at a time. Please forgive me if I seem at all opinionated in this matter.
     
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  12. Manisha

    Manisha
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    Yes of course, sorry, I do understand that it is some Sikhs and some Ravidasis.

    I still believe those who live according to Guru Ji's ways and teachings, are like, the only ones who can correct and encourage others to live the right way too..

    But, I do totally agree with you (as you do make sense yourself) because at the end of the day, (so to speak), it's just as simple as having the correct understanding of; (like you said) Guru Ji's message, teachings, beliefs ect. And those of us who follow these will be okay and I guess those who think they're following the right way which is actually the wrong way, will either, hopefully see the error of their ways or be punished.. Because at the end, it is upto Waheguru Himself to give the final verdict on how one has lived their life..

    And I must include, it was very beneficial in a sense, to have this discussion with you, so thanks :)
     
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  13. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    mishi ji -- with your permission, let me add one thing. Those who are violent live in a hell of their own creation. That is the punishment. Once a person castes himself/herself into that deep hole, climbing out can be very very difficult. Many do not make it out of their hell of hatred and anger. Imagine ....
     
  14. Manisha

    Manisha
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    Of course.. And that's very true..
     

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