Budha Dal factions merge
Varinder Walia\r\nTribune News Service
Amritsar, June 17
After remaining at loggerheads for more than a decade, the Budha Dal Nihang faction, led by Baba Balbir Singh, merged into its parent Nihang Dal, led by Baba Santa Singh, amid traditional slogans of “Bole So Nihal” here today. Baba Balbir Singh, who remained a disciple of Baba Santa Singh and acted as his personal assistant for 23 years, parted company with him in 1996 and filed a number of cases against his mentor in the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
After the merger, Baba Balbir Singh said he would withdraw all cases, filed against Baba Santa Singh immediately since he considered him his godfather. Baba Santa Singh remained excommunicated from the Sikh Panth for 17 years for carrying out “kar sewa” at the Akal Takht which was damaged during Operation Bluestar in June, 1984. When Baba Balbir Singh snapped ties with Baba Santa Singh, his parallel Budha Dal was recognised by the Akal Takht and the SGPC both. Though Baba Santa Singh re-joined the Sikh fold on March 17, 2001, Baba Balbir Singh refused to accept him the Jathedar of the Budha Dal. Baba Balbir Singh had then claimed that he was still the “real Jathedar” since he was honoured by the SGPC and the Akal Takht during the tercentenary celebrations of the birth of Khalsa Panth. Though Baba Santa Singh re-joined the Sikh fold five years ago, he today claimed that he was superior to the Jathedar of Akal Takht. Interestingly, he had accepted the “tankhah” from the Jathedar of Akal Takht when he rejoined the Sikh fold. Baba Santa Singh criticised the SGPC for not inviting him for the 400th martyrdom anniversary function of Guru Arjan Dev. Meanwhile, Baba Balbir Singh said he would accept any assignment in the Budha Dal, given by its supremo, Baba Santa Singh.