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May 21,2007
India's Sikhs outraged by sect leader
by UPI

NEW DELHI - A religious sect leader has been accused of impersonating a revered Sikh guru, setting off deadly riots in India's Punjab state.

Last week the sect Dera Sacha Sauda placed a newspaper advertisement that Sikhs the advertisement showed sect leader Baba Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh impersonating Sikhism's 10th and last guru, Guru Gobind Singh. Dera Sacha Sauda, which said it considers all religions are the same, claims it is a non-profit group involved in social work.

In the riots that followed in Punjab and neighboring Haryana state, one person died and more than 50 others were injured, reports Britain's The Independent.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, himself a Sikh, appealed for calm. The government is concerned the issue shouldn't become an excuse to revive the fight for a separate Sikh homeland that had rocked India in the past.

"Impersonating a Sikh guru always runs the risk of outraging even the most moderate of Sikhs," an official of the Sikh Federation in Britain told The Independent.

Some Sikh leaders and clergy demanded the closure of all campuses of the sect in Punjab. Other media reports said the Sikh leadership rejected regrets expressed by the sect chief over the controversy.

Copyright ©  2007, by United Press International. All Rights Reserved.

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