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What is the genesis of recent violence in Punjab and Haryana? Is it true that it all began in a Gurudwara (a Sikh temple) in Vienna?
Technically, the attack in Vienna was not in a gurudwara, but in a Gurdehera -- also commonly called a dera -- of the Dera Sachkand, a Ravidasi organisation. This is a new Ravidasi temple that has only recently been set-up on Rudolphsheim Street which also houses the only Gurudwara in the Austrian capital, which is said to be controlled by radicals loyal to Khalistan.
It is being suggested in some press versions, as in this Hindustan Times report, that "at the centre of the conflagration is a battle for the control of cash-rich overseas gurdwaras and an assertion of religious identity by Dalits who form roughly 29 per cent of Punjab’s three crore population. The new Ravidasi place of worship apparently took away a chunk of the offerings and the "tensions came to a head when visiting sect head Sant Niranjan Das was allegedly attacked by pro-Khalistani Sikhs" on Sunday, May 24. While Sant Niranjan Das, the sect-head, was injured, his second-in-command, Sant Ramanand, was fatally injured in the attack and the news of the latter's death on Monday ratcheted up the already inflamed passions of the Dera followers in Punjab and Haryana.
The ostensible reason for the attack in Vienna is said to be the alleged disrespect shown by the Dera leaders to the Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh holy book. But intelligence agencies are probing the possibilities of a larger conspiracy to stir up trouble between the Ravidasis and the Sikhs in India.
What exactly is Dera Sachkhand?...