||The Nirankari Sects
- The Nirankari sect was formed by Sikh activists in the 19th century. Under Baba Deyal Singh, it is credited with starting the tradition of Anand Karaj, the Sikh way of getting married. A breakaway group formed by Baba Buta Singh preached largely similar customs and principles but there some differences from Sikh customs. He was followed by Avatar Singh, who registered Sant Nafinkari Mandal in 1948.
- The first clash between Sikhs and Avatar Singh took place over alleged misinterpretation of the Gurbani by Avatar Singh in Amritsar in 1956-57. It left a few persons injured. Avatar Singh’s son Gurbachan Singh wrote Granth Avtar Bani; some of its references to Sikh Gurus offended many Sikhs.
- In a clash with Sikhs opposing a Nirankari congregation in 1978, 13 Sikhs were killed. Gurbachan Singh and 64 followers were booked for murder and acquitted in 1980.
- Later that year, Gurbachan and an aide were shot dead in Delhi. Militant leader Jarnail Singh Bhundranwale was questioned and charged with murder; prime accused Ranjit Singh surrendered in 1983, was sentenced to 13 years and, after his release, went on to become Akal Takht jathedar.
- Nirankari Mission’s previous head, Baba Hardev Singh, Gurbachan’s son, died in a road accident in Montreal in 2016. The accident also killed his son-in-law Avneet Satya, while another son-in-law, Sandeep Khinda, survived. A group of followers demanded an investigation, and submitted an online petition to the Prime Minister with 3,556 signatures.
- The Nirankari Sect is in news because of recent attack in Punjab
- They are a Marathi-speaking, politically dominant community in Maharashtra. They make up about one-third of the population of the state. Historically, they have been identified as a warrior class with large land-holdings. Since the formation of Maharashtra state in 1960, 11 of its 18 chief ministers have been from the Maratha community. While division of land and agrarian problems over the years have led to a decline of prosperity among middle-class and lower-middle-class Marathas, the community still plays an important role in the rural economy.
- The Maharashtra State Backward Class Commission (MSBCC) headed by its chairman, retired Justice G M Gaikwad, submitted a 1,000-page report that said the Maratha community is socially, economically and educationally backward. The MSBCC studied 45,000 families from two villages from each of the 355 talukas that have more than a 50% Maratha population.