Unfazed by controversy, Haryana's Anil Vij says he would have donated more to Dera Sacha Sauda
Dera Sacha Sauda is headed by controversial Sikh leader Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.
Ambala: Haryana Sports Minister Anil Vij on Monday defended his decision to sanction a Rs 50 lakh grant for sports activities to the controversial Dera Sacha Sauda sect.
The minister said that if he had the power to donate more money to the Dera Sacha Sauda for sports-related activities, he would have done so.
Notably, Dera Sacha Sauda is headed by controversial Sikh leader Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh. The sect, with millions of followers in Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Rajasthan and other states, is considered a rich sect. The sect headquarters are located near Sirsa town, 250 km from Chandigarh.
The sect's controversial and colourful head, Gurmit Ram Rahim Singh, has been embroiled in various controversies in the past few years. He is facing rape and murder conspiracy charges for the past over 15 years in different courts. He was booked for hurting religious sentiments of Sikhs in 2007.
Anil Vij on Sunday drew flak from Congress after he donated Rs 50 crore from his discretionary fund to the sect in Haryana for promoting rural games.
"In the last National Games which were held in Kerala, children of the Dera Sacha Sauda won many medals. To promote them, the organisation is making a games village inside its campus, where they are planning to make a number of stadiums as per international standards. For the growth and promotion of games, I can only contribute this much, If I had the power to donate more, then I would have done so," Vij told news agency ANI today.
While attending the "Tiranga Rumal Chhu" program in Sirsa, Vij said: "Your organisation is encouraging sports and athletes, hence, in order to promote sports further, I would like to give Rs 50 lakh which is from my discretionary fund."
The minister said the prime objective of his donation was to promote sports in Haryana.
He had earlier faced criticism when he visited Rio to encourage players from Haryana who were taking part in the Olympics.