Namdharis’ chief attacked in UK
Monday, 12 August 2013 - PNS/Agencies - Chandigarh - Leicester (UK)
The head of Punjab-based Namdhari sect Thakur Uday Singh was attacked with a sharp edged weapon in a Gurdwara at Leicester in United Kingdom on Sunday morning.
The attacker, a non-Namdhari Sikh, has been arrested by the UK police, after he was nabbed by the sevadars (workers) of Gurudwara. When attacked, Uday Singh warded off the assault on his throat but received severe cut on his nose and is presently admitted in the hospital. The accused attacked Uday Singh with a gandasa (a traditional weapon primarily used in cultivation and farming) soon after the morning prayers. But fortunately, it was the reflex action that saved him.
However, the impact came on his nose and he was immediately rushed to the hospital where he received several stitches on his nose. It has been learnt that Thakur Uday Singh along with Mata Chand Kaur, the widow of previous Namdhari head Satguru Jagjit Singh, his son-in-law Jagtar Singh and several other Namdhari followers had gone to UK to convene a “Namdhari Darbar”.
The followers of Namdhari sect have placed Satguru Jagjit Singh’s “palki” in the darbars but Uday Singh and Mata Chand Kaur wanted to remove the palki that caused dissent in a large number of Namdhari followers who still consider Satguru Jagjit Singh as their spiritual head and have failed to acknowledge Uday Singh as their spiritual head.
The followers of Namdhari sect, also known as Kukas, believe in living Guru unlike mainstream Sikhs who consider the Guru Granth Sahib as their Guru. Following Satguru Jagjit Singh’s death in December 2012, the sect hit the headlines as a succession row between his nephews — Uday Singh and Dalip Singh — took place as he himself had no son of his own.
As Uday Singh was made the sect head, his brother Dalip Singh had been staking claim as the successor. Notably, the “politically influential” Namdhari sect has a considerable presence in Punjab and outside, making it a valuable vote bank wooed by all political parties. Considered close to the Congress from the days of Sikh militancy, the sect has been aggressively wooed by the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal. Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal has even made many visits to the sect headquarters at Bhaini Sahib in Ludhiana district on different occasions. The sect has also grown close ties with the Vishaw Hindu Parishad.
Who are Namdharis?
Namdharis (also known as Kukas) are members of a sect of Sikhism. The difference between Namdhari Sikhs and mainstream Sikhs is their belief in Jagjit Singh as their living Guru (as opposed to Guru Granth Sahib, the present guru of Sikhs). The followers of the sect are strict vegetarians, give equal importance to Guru Granth Sahib and the Dasam Granth, the holy book written by the 10th Sikh master, Guru Gobind Singh.
Namdharis are recognised through their white homespun clothing and by their method of tying the turban horizontally across the forehead. Around their necks, they wear a white woolen cord (mala), woven as a series of 108 knots and serving as a rosary. Namdhari Sikhs have equal faith in all Sikh gurus.