Amid tight security, Dera Ballan head, followers head for Varanasi

Dera Sachkhand Ballan head Sant Niranjan Dass and thousands of his followers boarded Begampura Express, a train hired by the dera to carry them to Varanasi, from the Jalandhar railway station amid tight security on Tuesday. The dera will celebrate the 634th birth anniversary of Guru Ravidass at his birthplace Seer Gowardhanpur, near Varanasi.

A huge deployment of police could be seen at the Jalandhar railway station and on the road leading to the station on Tuesday. Sources in the dera said they might take a major decision at Varanasi about the propagation of Ravidassia religion not only in the country but abroad, too. "The dera will also celebrate the first anniversary of the Ravidassia religion," said a follower.

In a major socio-cultural move, the Dera Ballan in Jalandhar had announced a separate religion — Ravidassia — in Banaras on the 633rd birth anniversary of the guru last year. The dera had also announced its separate religious book, "Amrit Bani Guru Ravidass", containing 240 hymns, a separate symbol "Har" and a separate statement to wish each other, "Jai Gurudev" on the occasion.

CD banned

A religious audio CD titled "Satiguru De Banke Chele Akal Da Paath Padawaage", which was released by T-Series recently, has been banned by the Censor Board for using a "casteist" word for the Ravidassia community. The CD was recorded after the Vienna incident where Dera Ballan deputy head Sant Ramanand was killed by a few miscreants in 2009. Baba Kamal of the Ravidassia community, who directed the CD, said that had used the expression, "Putt Chamarran De" for themselves, which was objected to by Censor Board.

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