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Who would be handed over the keys to Dera Sacha Sauda after Gurmeet Ram Rahim's exit?
The imprisonment of Dera Chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim in two rape cases looks to be the beginning of his bad luck….

With his being sentenced to a 20-year jail term by the CBI judge Jagdeep Singh on Monday for raping two women disciples in 2002, the question now is as to who will be Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh's successor to take over the reins of Dera Sacha Sauda!

Will it be his son Jasmeet Insan or Honeypreet Insan, the so-called daughter of the Dera chief, who takes care of the day-to-day affairs of Dera Sacha Sauda?

For the information of readers, Jasmeet – who is known as Shehzada in the Dera premises – is the biological son of Ram Rahim and is married to the daughter of Harminder Singh Jassi, former Punjab Congress Legislator from Bhatinda. Jasmeet Insan was anointed as the next Dera head in 2007. However, his being made the next Dera head will break the convention which specifies succession outside the family.

Going by the background, the first head of Dera Sacha Sauda, Shah Mastana Balochistani, who had established the ashram on April 23, 1948 and taught meditation for a many years, had chosen Shah Satnam, a family outsider, as his successor before his death.

Shah Satnam initiated 1.1 million people into meditation before passing on the baton to 23-year-old Gurmeet Ram Rahim, a class X dropout and a married boy from Gursarmodia town of Sri Ganganagar (Rajasthan).

There are allegations that Shah Satnam was in favour of appointing an educated person as his heir but Ram Rahim was pushed through to the top by his favourites in the management.

So far, Honeypreet Insaan, the so-called adopted daughter of the Dera chief who's also known as 'Papa's Angel', looks to be on top of the list. Added here, Honeypreet is a divorcee. She was once married to businessman and staunch follower of the Dera, Vishwas Gupta, who hailed from Fatehabad. Gupta, after winding up his business had invested all his wealth in the Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda and used to live there.

Later on in 2011, Gupta suspected his wife Honeypreet of having illicit relations with Gurmeet Ram Rahim and even alleged this in a court. Afterwards, Gurmeet Ram Rahim and Gupta reached a compromise and the latter withdrew the court case. Gupta remarried and is now father to a daughter and lives in Panipat.

Since then, Honeypreet has been living at the Dera with Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh like his shadow. Even during the pronouncement of the judgment by the special CBI court in the rape case on Friday, she was seen accompanying the Dera chief. She later also travelled to Rohtak jail from Panchkula in a helicopter with Gurmeet Ram Rahim. However, since then, she has been out of the picture.

She is however, not the sole candidate in the race for becoming the next head of DSS. If Gurmeet Ram Rahim decides to overlook both Jasmeet and Honeypreet, his next option could be to choose Vipassana.

Vipassana Insan recently came into the limelight when she made an appeal through a video urging Dera followers to maintain peace. She also attributed the violence to anti-social elements who according to her had infiltrated into Dera followers.

As far as management of the Dera is concerned, there are a number of administrative groups comprising of 45-member committees with its members from different states besides constituting of separate groups to look after different departments like general, political, youth, green force and women wings. At the lower level, each block is handled by a 7-member team.

After the announcement of sentence to Dera Chief, one of his enemies, Ram Kumar Bishnoi who had left the Dera in 1990, has filed a petition in the court demanding enquiry into the disappearance of Faqir Chand, a manager of the Dera, which had earlier been closed citing lack of evidence. The hearing in the case is scheduled to come up in September.

There is little possibility of running the affairs of the Dera from the jail premises, since the Dera has tens of millions of followers and is associated with numerous social welfare activities like running of schools, colleges, technical educational institutes, hospitals, markets, factories, cinema halls, canteens, agricultural activities, etc across many states.

Frankly speaking, if the government decides to seal the Dera and sell off the real-estate property on which it stands to make good the loss caused by its followers by indulging in violence and arson on Friday, the question of succession would be unfruitful and useless.

Now that the Dera chief is now behind bars, Gurdas Toor, a detractor of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh and witness in a case against him, in an interview to a television channel said that the Dera should be closed so that innocent people are not exploited in the future.

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