Amidst tight security in parts of Northern India, controversial spiritual godman Gurmeet Ram Rahim has been sentenced to 20years in jail for raping two women at his Sirsa Ashram in Haryana. The verdict came on Monday after a special CBI court found Ram Rahim guilty on Friday. Gurmeet Ram Ram, the chief of Dera Sacha Sauda group was convicted of raping two women at his Ashram back in 1999. With enough evidence to prove him guilty, the special CBI judge Jagdeep Singh sentenced two consecutive 10-year terms for Ram Rahim.
The past few days have not been pleasant in the region owing to Dera Sacha supporters creating violence. Ever since Singh was found guilty at the special CBI court in Panchkula, the Dera supporters have been on a rampage all across North India. To prevent further violence, Singh was sentenced in Rohtak Jail where he was brought via helicopter on Friday. The court room was set up in the jail fearing further violence from Dera supporters who had gathered outside. Military and police personnel in Haryana have been asked to stay alert to avert any violence like last Friday which resulted in the deaths of at least 36 people. Ever since Singh was announced guilty, Dera supporters have been creating violence, torching train carriages, cars, buses and even media OB vans. The angry mob didn’t spare even media persons and many cameramen and reporters had a narrow escape.
Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh has been the called the ‘Modern Baba’ flamboyant lifestyle and larger than life image. The spiritual leader enjoys a massive and loyal fan base across India, especially in Haryana and Punjab. As per estimates, there are over 60 million Dera followers all across the globe. Though there have been no clashes in the last few days, the security remained tight in Punjab, Haryana, and parts of UP and Rajasthan. The SMS and internet services in Punjab and Haryana are still suspended in some parts. According to senior police officials, additional companies of the army and paramilitary forces have been called in the area to keep the situation under control. The states of Punjab and Haryana are to remain guarded until Wednesday. The case has gained national light as even PM Narendra Modi shared his views on his radio show ‘Mann ki Baat’. Police have maintained the curfew on the gathering of five people or more in Sirsa which is the stronghold of Dera Sacha Sauda.
Ram Rahim Singh enjoys a huge following and has often been cited as one of the most influential figures in India. He was also named as the 96th most influential Indians in a recent list released by a popular tabloid. He has directed and starred in five films which have portrayed him as a larger than life hero saving the country and humanity from turmoil. For his music video ‘Love Charger’, Singh amassed millions in a stadium and released the song. But things eventually turned sour for the godman as CBI fund enough evidence to prove him guilty of a case registered in 2002.
Interestingly the case was brought to light when a sadhvi in Singh’s ashram at Sirsa sent a unanimous letter to then PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee exposing the wrong doings. It should also be noted that a murder investigation is also going in against Ram Rahim.