I was in New Delhi for Newspapers Association of India’s awards, which was a very crucial event, when I received an SMS (Short message service) which stated
Please find legal notice sent on firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
Adv Bhaskar Bhardwaj,
New Delhi, India
This was quite a surprise to me, why the advocate was so desperate to text me? I was really blank and could not guess which and what legal notice he was talking about, as this was the first time I came across such a thing. Anyway, I called him to know the concerned. Adv. Bhaskar Bhardwaj received the call and said “Madam, I have to consult my clients and seek their permission regarding whether I should meet you or not in person; that was another shock to me, as I was clueless and really uninformed of what he was talking. Moreover, I never asked that lawyer to meet me personally. In fact, that was my first call to him in response to his missed call and message. Being an editor, many people text me or call me with various issues and attending them on a personal note is not always possible for me. However, when I get a chance, I generally revert back to some of the calls, out of courtesy.
While talking further, I realised that he is lawyer of some Dera Sacha Sauda follower, who sent me a legal notice for publishing news and articles about Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, on 29th October, 2014. His client who is an ardent follower of said organisation, has gone through two of my online articles published on below mentioned URLs, which he felt are completely based on sick thoughts / hazy facts, pretended, false accusations, intended to hurt, outrage and taint religious feelings of Dera Sacha Sauda followers and to defame and belittle the said Holy organisation. The question is that, how come my expression can really hurt the strong sentiments of these disciples?
They had a problem with me for addressing his baba, Gurmeet Ram Rahim, as an alleged criminal, who is standing in his trial before the competent court of Jurisdiction. I called him alleged criminal based on various articles published on internet and other reputed publications. The references are clearly stated below each article. I had no intention to create an intimidating environment, promotion of hate feelings, why will I do so? If Ram Rahim Singh is a holy leader and his supporters have strong belief in their leader then how anyone can change their opinion for their Godman? I am not the first or a last journalist to write anything about this organisation or Gurmeet Ram Rahim. There were several articles published against him even before. I wonder how long these teams of lawyers are going to chase the scribes for writing about him.
Well! Let me tell you the fact, I was not even aware of this man or his organisation. It was their organisation or PR firm who called us to cover that event at Bandra Kurla Conplex. Till then, I don’t think I really bothered to know who he was. Out of curiosity, I Googled his name and found appalling and scandalous information. Even there are several Youtube links which tells the story of alleged activities of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh. More than that, I was unable to decide, he is an actor or fancy dress enthusiast or Rapper? He seems to be ‘all rounder’ baba of ‘Dera Sacha Sauda’. Gurmeet Ram Rahim must be really leading a very vibrant and colourful life. For me, the image of spiritual leaders means someone like Sree Sree Ravi Shankarji, Swami Chimnayananda, Sadguruji or Shankaracharya or Sant Nirankariji etc. I have never witnessed such a colourful, laud spiritual leader in my life. Somewhat, Asaram Bapu and his son Narayan Sai were two dancer kind of laud babas and spiritual leaders but they are behind the bar for many reasons. Anyways, Gurmeet Ram Rahim loves to sing and captivate his followers to his tunes and pass on the message. His chartbusters includes ‘Tere Love Ka’, ‘Chashma Yaar Ka’, Insan, and the newest one, ‘Highway Love Charger’. It was too much to handle, while watching Youtube video, I could not control laughing. God only knows, what all is happening in his own world by his men.
Anyway, let me come back to the legal notice. I have not said or done anything wrong. Just expressed my personal views on the event where I was called to cover. You can go through both the links and find the various references given by us.
I have right to freedom of expression, if these babas cannot take criticism, then they should not call media to cover their event. If at all they want all eulogise, then they should simply get it published in whichever newspaper which is willing to do so. I have nothing against him, but I am also not impressed by his cleanliness drive. I have already stated my reasons. By threatening me or chocking my expressions or creating pressure you can’t change the facts. Please stop this tactics, you are simply harassing me.
Gurmeet Ram Rahim’s advocate Bhardwaj also warned me about filing FIR in Delhi’s Kalkaji Police Station. He gave me some time bound to apologise and pull down the articles from the web site else face the consequences.
I am ready to go through any hurdle to keep my opinion and fight back the odds. One suggestion (should not take it as advice) to Gurmeet Ram Rahim, please teach tolerance and modesty to your disciples. There are many rock bands to entertain them. Many singers and fashion models’ to amuse them. They need spiritual boost and spirituality can lead them to open-mindedness and acceptance for all the odd and even. Teach them tolerance.
All the best ………..