March 1, 2014 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
Chandigarh/ Jalandhar, Punjab (March 01, 2014): Another controversy related to Beas based dera Radha Swami has surfaced. The dera had previously been in controversy for demolishing a Sikh Gurdwara Sahib to secure expansion of dera land.
There had been occasional reporting in media about Dera’s activities affecting the flow of river beas. A news reported by The Tribune, a prominent daily published from Chandgiarh, in it’s Jalandhar edition on 5 December 2008, read as: “The management of Dera Baba Jaimal Singh, popularly known as Dera Radha Soami Beas, has allegedly been trying to change the natural flow of the Beas river by reportedly illegally quarrying sand and placing cement slabs on the right side of the river, in an attempt to encroach land belonging to the farmers of Butala, Dhilwan, Mand, Bhaini, Chakoki and adjoining villages situated on the left side of the Beas”.
But now a report prepared by government officials in 2005 has come into light which affirms that the dera has altered the natural course of river Beas.
As per a news reported in Ajit, a prominent Punjabi vernacular published from Jalandhar, the dera constructed embankments on one side of the river and forced the river to change it natural course that has resulted in vast damage to the farmers’ land on the other bank of the river.
As per 2005 report prepared by senior government officials 2043 acres land belonging to farmers of 22 villages was adversely affected by dera’s embankment activities.
According to Ajit, senior government official of Jalandhar, Amritsar and Kapurthala districts had prepared a detailed report that how the dera Beas raised cemented embankments between year 2000 to 2005 and forced the river Beas to change it’s natural course. The reports was submitted to the government of Punjab in 2005 but it was never released by the government.
It is notable that Dera’s activities affecting the course of river Beas did not stop in 2005, when the report was prepared, rather, as per certain local sources dera is still continuing with it’s activities to fulfil it’s expansionist desires.
The 2005 report that has recently come into light after the intervention of Information Commission of Punjab reveals that the dera had secured permissions for some mining work on 16 March 2000.
The report reveals that going beyond the terms of permission the dera raised embankments which led to change in course of river beas, as a result there were massive floods in river beas in 2005.
As per information a copy of the report was also submitted to the Dera management. The report had ‘urged’ the dera management to stop it’s mining and embankment activities for ‘humanitarian’ good.
Surprisingly the government did not disclose the report over a stretch of past 9 years. Now, the government had to submit the report before the court of S. Ravinder Singh Negi of Punjab Information Commission.
It is notable that Beas based Radha Swami Dera is considered to be an influential sect capable of affect a large chunk of vote-bank, therefore political parties tend to ignore it’s misdeeds.
Baba Gurinder Singh Dhillon, present head of Dera Radha Soami, is a close relative of Punjab cabinet minister Bikramjit Majithia’s wife. Bikramjit Majithia is bother-in-law (wife’s brother) of Sukhbir Badal, Deputy CM of Punjab.