Piara Singh Bhaniara
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Baba Bhaniara born in 1958, is a Dalit holy man the spiritual leader of a breakaway Sikh sect, Piara Singh Bhaniara, based in Dhamiana village in Ropar, Punjab. He grew up in a modest family, his father Tulsi Ram, a mason, was a caretaker of two mazaars. After his father’s death, Bhaniara took over the mazaars and proclaimed himself a baba (a spiritually advanced person).
Bhaniara was known a healer for work and used to leave food for wild animals in forests. Senior Congress Party leader Buta Singh had visited Bhaniara several times between 1985 and 1995 for healing of his wife Manjit Kaur, who was suffering from several problems of the heart, kidney, skin and lungs. Buta Singh later disassociated himself from Bhaniara.
Bhaniara wrote a book Bhavsagar Granth, describing his miracles, and released it in 2001. This offended the Sikhs, who complained that Bhaniara was equating himself with the Sikh gurus. An organization Khalsa Action Committee was formed headed by Charanjit Singh Channi, which disrupted a religious congregation at the home of one of Bhaniara's followers in Ludhiana in 2001. Bhaniara's book was snatched and damaged. Following this, Baba's followers were accused of burning the copies of Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh holy book. No evidence to support the accusation was found.
Bhaniara was arrested in October 2001. His book was banned by the government, and several copies of it were burned. An agitation was called by several Sikh youth organizations including Dal Khalsa and a building and a center of the baba were demolished.
In 2003, a man named Gopal Singh attempted to stab Bhaniara, when he was in Ambala to appear in the court in connection with his alleged involvement with the alleged burning of the copies of Guru Granth Sahib. A member of Babbar Khalsa, Gurdeep Singh Rana was arrested for trying to assassinate Bhaniara using a bomb in January 2005.
- Frontline. S. Rangarajan for Kasturi & Sons. 2007. Retrieved 24 August 2012.
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